Overview

Brief Summary

Palmae -- Palm family

    Dale D. Wade and 0. Gordon Langdon

    Cabbage palmetto (Sabal palmetto) is the most northerly  and abundant of the native tree palms. Other names sometimes used  are Carolina palmetto, common palmetto, palmetto, and  cabbage-palm. This medium-sized unbranched evergreen palm  commonly grows on sandy shores, along brackish marshes, in  seacoast woodlands of Southeastern United States and throughout  peninsular Florida. It can tolerate a broad range of soil  conditions and is often planted as a street tree. Abundant fruit  crops provide a good supply of food to many kinds of wildlife.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Dale D. Wade

Source: Silvics of North America

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Comprehensive Description

Description

General: Palm family (Arecaceae). Cabbage Palmetto is an evergreen palm tree that can reach 20m in height. The erect, unbranched trunk has grayish to brownish bark with distinctive pineapple-like markings where the old leaf stalks were attached. Medium-green, stiff, fanlike leaves are palmately compound and spread in all directions as they emerge from the top of the trunk. The fans, often wider than they are long (2-3 m wide), contain several long and pointed leaflets with prominent midribs. During June and July, abundant, small (.5cm), fragrant, white flowers are borne upon drooping, branched clusters. The berry-like fruits are small (1.5cm), shiny and black. Each fruit contains one seed.

Similar species: The shrub-like, dwarf palmetto (Sabal minor) is common to freshwater wetlands of the southeastern United States. The leaves lack the prominent midrib and it usually does not grow a stem.

Distribution: Native to the Gulf Coast states and Florida. For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center & the Biota of North America Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Alternative names

Palmetto, cabbage palm, cabbage tree, sabal palm, blue palm.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center & the Biota of North America Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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© NatureServe

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Cabbage palmetto grows throughout peninsular Florida and the Florida
Keys. It grows in the coastal areas of the Florida panhandle, Georgia,
and South Carolina [19,22]. It is cultivated in Hawaii [23]. Outside of
the United States, cabbage palmetto occurs in the Bahamas and Cuba
[19,22].
  • 19. Wade, Dale D.; Langdon, O. Gordon. 1990. Sabal palmetto (Walt.) Lodd. ex J. A. & J. H. Schult. cabbage palmetto. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 762-767. [13806]
  • 22. Zona, Scott. 1990. A monograph of Sabal (Arecaceae: Coryphoideae). Aliso. 12(4): 583-666. [12476]
  • 23. St. John, Harold. 1973. List and summary of the flowering plants in the Hawaiian islands. Hong Kong: Cathay Press Limited. 519 p. [25354]

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Occurrence in North America

FL GA HI SC

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Cabbage palmetto is the most widely distributed of our native palm  trees. Its range extends northward from the Florida Keys through  its epicenter in south-central Florida to Cape Fear, NC. A  disjunct population has been reported at Cape Hatteras, NC (16).  From North Carolina south to the Florida line it hugs the  coastline, usually occurring within 20 km (12 mi) of the ocean.  In Florida, its northern boundary turns west through Gainesville  and follows an ancient shoreline across the peninsula to the Gulf  Coast. It then follows the shoreline westward to St. Andrews Bay  where its range is slowly extending (3). Outside the United  States, it is found in the Bahama Islands (23).

   
  -The native range of cabbage palmetto.


  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Dale D. Wade

Source: Silvics of North America

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Fla., Ga., N.C., S.C.; West Indies (Bahamas, Cuba).
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

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Sabal palmetto occurs from southernmost portions of North Carolina through Florida and the Florida Keys to Cuba and the Bahamas. It is widely cultivated in the Hawaiian Islands (St. John 1973). Cabbage palms occur throughout the Indian River Lagoon, most commonly in communities characteristic of barrier islands and beach dunes: live oak-sea oats communities, sand pine scrub, and palmetto prairies (Alexander 1955).
  • Oosting, H.J. 1954. Ecological processes and vegetation of the maritime strand in the southeastern United States. Botanical Review. 20:226-262.
  • Alexander, T.R. 1955. Observations on the ecology of the low hammocks of southern Florida. Journal of the Florida Academy of Sciences. 18(1): 21-27.
  • Austin, D.F., F.R. Posin, J.N. Burch. 1987. Scrub species patterns on the Atlantic coastal ridge, Florida. Journal of Coastal Research. 3(4):491-198.
  • Duncan, W.H. and M.B. Duncan. 1988. Trees of the southeastern United States. University of Georgia Press. Athens, GA. 322 pp.
  • Monk, C.D. 1966. An ecological study of hardwood swamps in north-central Florida. Ecology. 40(1):1-9.
  • Olson, D.F., R.L. Barnes, Jr. 1974. Sabal palmetto. In: Schopmeyer, C.S., ed. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agriculture Handbook No. 450. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, D.C. pp. 744-745.
  • St. John, H. 1973. List and summary of the flowering plants in the Hawaiian Islands. Cathay Press Limited, Hong Kong. 519 pp.
  • Wade, D.D. and Langdon, O.G. 1990. Sabal palmetto (Walt.) Lodd. ex J.A. and J.H. Schult. Cabbage palmetto. In: Burns, R.M., B.H. Honkala, technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,Washington, D.C. pp. 762-767.
  • Walker, L.C. 1990. Forests: A naturalists guide to trees and forest ecology. Wiley nature editions. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. New York, NY. 288 pp.
  • Wunderlin, R.P. 1982. Guide to the vascular plants of central Florida. University of South Florida, University Presses of Florida, Tampa, FL. 472 pp.
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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Adaptation

Cabbage palm grows in a wide variety of habitats in which the water table is fairly close to the surface. It is found in the drier, upland areas of both fresh and saltwater wetlands, wet hammocks, riverbanks, seasonally wet prairies, maritime forests and coastal plains. In Florida and across the gulf states, cabbage palmetto is commonly found in transition zones between active floodplains and uplands. It also occurs in maritime heath communities in the Carolinas and Virginia as well as the hardwood upland hammocks communities of the Everglades.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center & the Biota of North America Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the terms: perfect, tree

The cabbage palmetto is an erect, unbranched palm tree. It grows to a
height of 33 to 82 feet (10-25 m) with a stem diameter of 12 to 24
inches (30-60 cm). Typically the stem diameter is uniform from the
base to the crown. Leaf bases or "boots" may persist on the stem or
slough off, giving the stem a smooth appearance [5,19,21].

Cabbage palmetto leaves are fan-shaped, palmately divided, and
spineless. They are borne on a prominately-arching midrib and may be 3
to 9 feet (1-3 m) long. Cabbage palmetto flowers are perfect, showy,
and creamy to yellowish white. They are borne in arching or drooping
clusters. The fruit is a black, fleshy, drupe that contains a single
brown spherical seed [13]. Sargent (1933 in [19]) described the cabbage
palmetto root system as a short, bulbous, underground stem surrounded by
a dense mass of contorted roots with smaller, light orange roots
penetrating the soil to a depth of 15 to 20 feet (4.6-6.1 m).
  • 5. Duncan, Wilbur H.; Duncan, Marion B. 1988. Trees of the southeastern United States. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 322 p. [12764]
  • 13. Olson, David F., Jr.; Barnes, R. L. 1974. Sabal Adans. palmetto. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., ed. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agriculture Handbook No. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 744-745. [7744]
  • 19. Wade, Dale D.; Langdon, O. Gordon. 1990. Sabal palmetto (Walt.) Lodd. ex J. A. & J. H. Schult. cabbage palmetto. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 762-767. [13806]
  • 21. Walker, Laurence C. 1990. Forests: A naturalist's guide to trees and forest ecology. Wiley Nature Editions. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 288 p. [13763]

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Description

Stems usually aerial, 20--35 cm diam. Leaves 15--30, strongly costapalmate, bearing threadlike fibers between segments; hastula acute to acuminate, 5.3--18 cm; segments 55--120 ´ 2.5--4.2 cm; apices bifid2-cleft. Inflorescences with 3 orders of branching (not counting main inflorescence axis), arching, equaling or exceeding leaves in length. Flowers 4.1--6.7 mm. Fruits black, spheroid, length 8--13.8 mm, diam. 8.1--13.9 mm. Seeds 4--7 mm, diam. 5.4--9.7 mm diam. 2n = 36.
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Size

S. palmetto grows to a height of 10 - 25 m (32-82 feet), with a stem diameter of approximately 30 - 60 cm (12-24 inches). Leaves may measure up to 3 m (9.8 feet) in length. Fruits are small, measuring approximately 8 mm (1/3 inch) in width. Root systems are deeply penetrating, and may reach depths of 4.6 - 6.1 m (15-20 feet) (Duncan and Duncan 1988).
  • Oosting, H.J. 1954. Ecological processes and vegetation of the maritime strand in the southeastern United States. Botanical Review. 20:226-262.
  • Alexander, T.R. 1955. Observations on the ecology of the low hammocks of southern Florida. Journal of the Florida Academy of Sciences. 18(1): 21-27.
  • Austin, D.F., F.R. Posin, J.N. Burch. 1987. Scrub species patterns on the Atlantic coastal ridge, Florida. Journal of Coastal Research. 3(4):491-198.
  • Duncan, W.H. and M.B. Duncan. 1988. Trees of the southeastern United States. University of Georgia Press. Athens, GA. 322 pp.
  • Monk, C.D. 1966. An ecological study of hardwood swamps in north-central Florida. Ecology. 40(1):1-9.
  • Olson, D.F., R.L. Barnes, Jr. 1974. Sabal palmetto. In: Schopmeyer, C.S., ed. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agriculture Handbook No. 450. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, D.C. pp. 744-745.
  • St. John, H. 1973. List and summary of the flowering plants in the Hawaiian Islands. Cathay Press Limited, Hong Kong. 519 pp.
  • Wade, D.D. and Langdon, O.G. 1990. Sabal palmetto (Walt.) Lodd. ex J.A. and J.H. Schult. Cabbage palmetto. In: Burns, R.M., B.H. Honkala, technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,Washington, D.C. pp. 762-767.
  • Walker, L.C. 1990. Forests: A naturalists guide to trees and forest ecology. Wiley nature editions. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. New York, NY. 288 pp.
  • Wunderlin, R.P. 1982. Guide to the vascular plants of central Florida. University of South Florida, University Presses of Florida, Tampa, FL. 472 pp.
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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Corypha palmetto Walter, Fl. Carol., 119. 1788; Chamaerops palmetto (Walter) Michaux; Corypha palma W. Bartram; Inodes palmetto (Walter) O. F. Cook; Sabal jamesiana Small
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Type Information

Isotype for Sabal parviflora Becc.
Catalog Number: US 33401
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): C. Wright
Locality: Greater Antilles, Cuba, West Indies
  • Isotype: Beccari, O. 1907. Webbia. 2: 43.
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Isotype for Sabal parviflora Becc.
Catalog Number: US 62382
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Card file verified by examination of alleged type specimen
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): C. Wright
Locality: Greater Antilles, Cuba, West Indies
  • Isotype: Beccari, O. 1907. Webbia. 2: 43.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat characteristics

More info for the term: relict

Climate: Cabbage palmetto grows in a humid, subtropical to
warm-temperate climate. Within its range, the average annual rainfall
is 39 to 64 inches (100-163 cm). The average maximum and minimum
temperatures range from 97 to 25 degrees F (36 to -4 deg C). Low winter
temperatures probably limit cabbage palmetto's northern range.

Soils: Cabbage palmetto tolerates a wide range of soil acidities,
salinities, and drainage conditions. It grows best on neutral to
alkaline soils which are rich in calcium. Because of its calcium
affinity, cabbage palmetto frequently grows near exposed calcareous
sands, marls, and limestones. Cabbage palmetto prefers poorly to very
poorly drained soils and often grows on the edge of freshwater and
brackish wetlands. It tolerates salt and occasional flooding. The
Entisol, Alfisol, Ultisol, and Spodosol soil orders all support cabbage
palmetto.

At the northern limit of its range, cabbage palmetto grows mainly on the
baysides of coastal dunes. In central Florida it grows on periodically
flooded lowlands, relict inland dunes, and ridges below 100 feet (30 m).
With drainage, cabbage palmetto invades the once seasonally inundated
interhammock glades. Along freshwater sources, cabbage palmetto can
form pure stands covering up to 25 acres (10 ha). Such stands are
called "river hammocks" if along a river, and "cabbage-palm hammocks" or
"palm savannas" if inland [1].

Cabbage palmetto growth may indicate sites influenced by subtropical
conditions [12] or frequent fires [15].
  • 15. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843]
  • 1. Alexander, Taylor R. 1955. Observations on the ecology of the low hammocks of southern Florida. Journal of the Florida Academy of Sciences. 18(1): 21-27. [11467]
  • 12. Monk, Carl D. 1966. An ecological study of hardwood swamps in north-central Florida. Ecology. 47: 649-654. [10802]

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Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the terms: cactus, swamp, tree, xeric

In southern Florida, cabbage palmetto is a common component of high and
low hammock, tree island, and mixed conifer-hardwood swamp communities
[2,3,7,9,10,13,15]. Elsewhere it grows in more xeric scrub and Miami
rock-ridge inland communities [4,15]. In the Florida Panhandle,
Georgia, and South Carolina, cabbage palmetto grows within 12 miles (20
km) of the coast. It is a componenet of several diverse plant
communities, including those characteristic of dunes, salt flats,
barrier islands, and cactus thickets [1].

Associates are many and varied because of the diversity of Florida's
flora and the ecological amplitude of cabbage palmetto. Overstory
associates include south Florida slash pine (Pinus elliottii var.
densa), slash pine (P. elliottii var. elliottii), pond pine (P.
serotina), loblolly pine (P. taeda), longleaf pine (P. palustris),
eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana), various evergreen oaks (Quercus
spp.), loblolly-bay (Gordonia lasianthus), red bay (Persea borbonia),
magnolia (Magnolia spp.), sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua), red maple
(Acer rubrum), baldcypress (Taxodium spp.), pignut hickory (Carya
glabra), gumbo-limbo (Bursera simaruba), and cocoplum (Chrysobalanus
icaco). Understory associates include gallberry (Ilex glabra),
huckleberries (Gaylussacia spp.), blueberries (Vaccinium spp.), lyonias
(Lyonia spp.), southern bayberry (Merica cerifera), holly (Ilex spp.),
saw-palmetto (Serenoa repens), greenbriar (Smilax spp.), bracken fern
(Pteridium spp.), poison-ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), bluestem
(Andropogon spp.), sawgrass (Cladium jamaicensis), and beak rush
(Rhynchospora spp.). Exotic associates and probable competitors include
casuarina (Casuarina spp.), melaleuca (Melaleuca quinquenervia), coconut
(Cocos nucifera), and Brazilian peppertree (Schinus terebinthifolia).
  • 7. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905]
  • 15. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843]
  • 10. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384]
  • 3. Austin, Daniel F.; Posin, Freda R.; Burch, James N. 1987. Scrub species patterns on the Atlantic Coastal Ridge, Florida. Journal of Coastal Research. 3(4): 491-498. [9340]
  • 9. Klukas, Richard W. 1973. Control burn activities in Everglades National Park. In: Proceedings, annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1972 June 8-9; Lubbock, TX. Number 12. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 397-425. [8476]
  • 2. Alexander, Taylor R. 1958. High hammock vegetation of the southern Florida mainland. Quarterly Journal of the Florida Academy of Sciences. 21(4): 293-298. [11468]
  • 1. Alexander, Taylor R. 1955. Observations on the ecology of the low hammocks of southern Florida. Journal of the Florida Academy of Sciences. 18(1): 21-27. [11467]
  • 4. Daubenmire, Rexford. 1990. The Magnolia grandiflora-Quercus virginiana forest of Florida. American Midland Naturalist. 123: 331-347. [10871]
  • 13. Olson, David F., Jr.; Barnes, R. L. 1974. Sabal Adans. palmetto. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., ed. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agriculture Handbook No. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 744-745. [7744]

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Habitat: Cover Types

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

70 Longleaf pine
73 Southern redcedar
74 Cabbage palmetto
84 Slash pine
105 Tropical hardwoods
111 South Florida slash pine

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Habitat: Ecosystem

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

FRES12 Longleaf - slash pine
FRES13 Loblolly - shortleaf pine
FRES14 Oak - pine
FRES16 Oak - gum - cypress
FRES41 Wet grasslands

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Habitat: Plant Associations

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

K079 Palmetto prairie
K090 Live oak - sea oats
K092 Everglades
K112 Southern mixed forest
K115 Sand pine scrub
K116 Subtropical pine forest

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Soils and Topography

Cabbage palmetto can tolerate a broad range of soil pH, salinity,  and drainage but prefers neutral to alkaline soils characterized  by near-surface or exposed calcareous sands, marls, or limestone  (10,15). Although it grows at the edges of both saline and  freshwater areas, it cannot survive lengthy tidal inundations (8)  but can withstand fluctuations of 2 m (6 ft) in freshwater levels  by developing extensive adventitious rootlets along its trunk up  to the high-water mark. This cylindrical root mass may reach  diameters of 1.8 to 2.4 rn (6 to 8 ft) (24).

    In the northern part of its range, cabbage palmetto is primarily  found on the bay side of coastal dunes and adjacent mainland.  Farther south in Georgia, it extends up the flood plains of major  rivers. In central Florida, the tree is often found on fine sandy  soils with subsoils of limestone or marl on periodically flooded  lowlands, and on relic inland dune ridges below 30 rn (100 ft),  an elevation that defines the approximate shoreline of the  Wicomico Sea of the Pleistocene (7). With the construction of  drainage ditches in south-central Florida, it has colonized the  once seasonally inundated interhammock glades.

    The species is found on a wide range of soils including those in  the orders Entisols, Alfisols, Ultisols, and Spodosols in south  Florida. Drainage tends to be restricted, ranging from somewhat  poorly to very poorly drained. All soils appear to have one  characteristic in common, a high calcium content, which is  indicated by either a high base saturation (Alfisols) or  limestone, phosphatic rock, or sea shells in the profile. Soil  series typical of the Alfisols are Boca, Bradenton, Parkwood, and  Riviera. Typical Entisols are exemplified by the Pompano series.  Charlotte, Oldsmar, and Wabasso soil series are typical Spodosols  on which the species is found.

    The species often forms pure stands up to about 10 ha (25 acres)  in freshwater areas, called river hammocks if they lie along a  river, and cabbage-palm hammocks or palm savannas if they are on  inland prairies.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Dale D. Wade

Source: Silvics of North America

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Climate

The climate within the natural range of cabbage palmetto is  principally subtropical to warm temperate, humid, with an average  annual rainfall of 1000 to 1630 mm. (39 to 64 in) and average  annual minimum and maximum temperatures from about -4° to 36°  C (25° to 97° F). Low winter temperatures apparently  limit the horticultural range of the species, which now extends  more than 160 km (100 mi) north and inland of its natural range  (3).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Dale D. Wade

Source: Silvics of North America

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Hammocks, pinelands, river banks, dunes, tidal flats; 0--40m.
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Depth range based on 4 specimens in 1 taxon.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 1.5 - 1.5
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Dispersal

Establishment

Cabbage palmetto is widely planted for landscaping as an ornamental because of its stately structure and large, graceful fan-shaped fronds. It has a slow to moderate growth rate and is used for street trees as well as for the patio or terrace. It can be grown in sun or in part shade. The tree grows well in a wide variety of soils with medium to poor drainage and fertility in both moist and fairly dry areas. It is recommended for seaside plantings, as it is tolerant of salt. It is not hardy in mountain areas as it is sensitive to cold.

Propagation by seeds: The trees may be easily propagated from seed, as they germinate readily.

Transplantings: It is best to transplant cabbage palmettos in June or July. Seedlings can be transplanted the year following germination although larger plants transplant more easily. This is because increased food reserves stored in the main stem of larger transplants help in the regeneration of new roots. Tie the leaves together before transplanting to protect the terminal bud. After transplanting into a hole large enough to hold the roots, support the plant with stakes. It is necessary to water frequently until you can observe growth, to ensure proper establishment of the root system.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center & the Biota of North America Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Trophic Strategy

Autotrophic.Competitors: Probable competitors include exotic species such as Australian pine (Casuarina spp.), melaleuca (Melaleuca quinquenervia), coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) and Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolia).Habitats: Optimum growth occurs in humid subtropical to warm temperate climates where average rainfall is 100 - 163 cm (39-64 inches), and average maximum/minimum temperatures range from -4 - 36? C (25-97 ? F). Northern growth is limited by low winter temperatures.Preferred soil type for S. palmetto is calcium rich, and neutral to alkaline in nature. Cabbage palms prefer poorly drained soils, and often grow at the edge of freshwater and brackish wetlands. This species tolerates flooding (Alexander 1955).
  • Oosting, H.J. 1954. Ecological processes and vegetation of the maritime strand in the southeastern United States. Botanical Review. 20:226-262.
  • Alexander, T.R. 1955. Observations on the ecology of the low hammocks of southern Florida. Journal of the Florida Academy of Sciences. 18(1): 21-27.
  • Austin, D.F., F.R. Posin, J.N. Burch. 1987. Scrub species patterns on the Atlantic coastal ridge, Florida. Journal of Coastal Research. 3(4):491-198.
  • Duncan, W.H. and M.B. Duncan. 1988. Trees of the southeastern United States. University of Georgia Press. Athens, GA. 322 pp.
  • Monk, C.D. 1966. An ecological study of hardwood swamps in north-central Florida. Ecology. 40(1):1-9.
  • Olson, D.F., R.L. Barnes, Jr. 1974. Sabal palmetto. In: Schopmeyer, C.S., ed. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agriculture Handbook No. 450. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, D.C. pp. 744-745.
  • St. John, H. 1973. List and summary of the flowering plants in the Hawaiian Islands. Cathay Press Limited, Hong Kong. 519 pp.
  • Wade, D.D. and Langdon, O.G. 1990. Sabal palmetto (Walt.) Lodd. ex J.A. and J.H. Schult. Cabbage palmetto. In: Burns, R.M., B.H. Honkala, technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,Washington, D.C. pp. 762-767.
  • Walker, L.C. 1990. Forests: A naturalists guide to trees and forest ecology. Wiley nature editions. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. New York, NY. 288 pp.
  • Wunderlin, R.P. 1982. Guide to the vascular plants of central Florida. University of South Florida, University Presses of Florida, Tampa, FL. 472 pp.
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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Associations

Associated Forest Cover

In the forest cover type Cabbage Palmetto (Society of American  Foresters Type 74), the species usually makes up a plurality of  the stocking (11). Because cabbage palmetto can accommodate a  wide range of sites, it is found in association with many plant  species, especially in south Florida. It is found on severe sites  such as dunes, salt flats, barrier islands, cactus thickets, and  wet prairies. It is a common component of such diverse  communities as freshwater cypress swamps, relic inland dune  ridges, and rockland pine forests, where it grows with South  Florida slash pine (Pinus elliottii var. densa) and  various tropical hardwoods on limestone outcrops. Other  coniferous associates include typical slash pine (P.  elliottii var. elliottii), pond pine (P. serotina),  and loblolly pine (P. taeda) at edges of  marshes; longleaf pine (P. palustris) on dry  sites such as xeric hammocks; and eastern redcedar (Juniperus  virginiana) in hydric hammocks. Cabbage palmetto is also a  component of both temperate and subtropical hardwoods, which  include species such as the various evergreen oaks (Quercus  spp.), loblolly-bay (Gordonia lasianthus), redbay  (Persea borbonia), magnolias (Magnolia spp.),  sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua), red maple (Acer  rubrum), baldcypress (Taxodium spp.), pignut hickory  (Carya glabra), gumbo-limbo (Bursera simaruba), cocoplum  (Chrysobalanus Waco), Florida strangler fig (Ficus aurea),  Florida poisontree (Metopium toxiferum), and wild  tamarind (Lysiloma latisiliquum). The abundance of  cabbage palmetto within a given community is often related to the  site's fire history. Cabbage palmetto can survive fires that kill  other arborescent vegetation be cause of its deeply embedded bud  and fire-resistant trunk; it thus tends to form pure stands with  periodic burning (19,27,30).

    Associated understory vegetation includes gallberry (Ilex  glabra), huckleberries (Gaylussacia spp.) blueberries  (Vaccinium spp.), lyonias (Lyonia spp.),  waxmyrtle (Myrica cerifera), holly (Ilex spp.),  saw-palmetto (Serenoa repens), greenbriar (Smilax  spp.), bracken (Pteridium spp.), blackberry (Rubus  spp.), poison-ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), bluestem  (Andropogon spp.), sawgrass (Cladium jamaicensis),  beak-rush (Rhynchospora spp.), and such epiphytic  plants as the common tree orchid (Tillandsia spp.), and  various bromeliads in the subtropical hammocks.

    Several naturalized exotics, namely casuarina (Casuarina  spp.), melaleuca (Melaleuca quinquenervia), coconut  (Cocos nucifera), and Brazil peppertree (Schinus  terebinthifolia), are now commonly associated with cabbage  palmetto-apparently at its expense-but it is too early to judge  the extent of their competition.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Dale D. Wade

Source: Silvics of North America

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Due to the diversity of its habitats, S. palmetto also has a variety of associates. Overstory plants include slash pine (Pinus elliotii), pond pine (P. serotina), loblolly pine (P. taeda), longleaf pine (P. palustris), and various oaks (Quercus spp.). Understory plants include gallberry (Ilex glabra), saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), greenbriar (Smilax spp.), bracken ferns (Pteridium spp.), bluestems (Andropogon spp.), sawgrass (Cladium jamaicensis), beak rush (Rhynchospora spp.), and others.Black bear, raccoons, bats, wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, gulls, cardinals, grackles, blue jays, and scrub jays all rely on the fruit of S. palmetto for food (St. John 1973; Olson and Barnes 1974; Wade and Langdon 1990).
  • Oosting, H.J. 1954. Ecological processes and vegetation of the maritime strand in the southeastern United States. Botanical Review. 20:226-262.
  • Alexander, T.R. 1955. Observations on the ecology of the low hammocks of southern Florida. Journal of the Florida Academy of Sciences. 18(1): 21-27.
  • Austin, D.F., F.R. Posin, J.N. Burch. 1987. Scrub species patterns on the Atlantic coastal ridge, Florida. Journal of Coastal Research. 3(4):491-198.
  • Duncan, W.H. and M.B. Duncan. 1988. Trees of the southeastern United States. University of Georgia Press. Athens, GA. 322 pp.
  • Monk, C.D. 1966. An ecological study of hardwood swamps in north-central Florida. Ecology. 40(1):1-9.
  • Olson, D.F., R.L. Barnes, Jr. 1974. Sabal palmetto. In: Schopmeyer, C.S., ed. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agriculture Handbook No. 450. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, D.C. pp. 744-745.
  • St. John, H. 1973. List and summary of the flowering plants in the Hawaiian Islands. Cathay Press Limited, Hong Kong. 519 pp.
  • Wade, D.D. and Langdon, O.G. 1990. Sabal palmetto (Walt.) Lodd. ex J.A. and J.H. Schult. Cabbage palmetto. In: Burns, R.M., B.H. Honkala, technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,Washington, D.C. pp. 762-767.
  • Walker, L.C. 1990. Forests: A naturalists guide to trees and forest ecology. Wiley nature editions. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. New York, NY. 288 pp.
  • Wunderlin, R.P. 1982. Guide to the vascular plants of central Florida. University of South Florida, University Presses of Florida, Tampa, FL. 472 pp.
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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Diseases and Parasites

Damaging Agents

In its native environment, only a rising  sea level, hurricanes, and organic soil fires are harmful to this  species. It is apparently free of damaging insects and most other  pathogens, although bole cankers have been reported (26). Seed  predation by the bruchid beetle, as previously discussed, would  be a major problem but for the large number of seed produced each  year.

    South of the Tamiami Trail, which crosses the lower part of south  Florida, cabbage palmetto mortality is significant because  extensive drainage schemes, resulting in a reduced freshwater  head, have combined with a rising sea level to produce increased  salinities (1,8). Cabbage palmetto has been rated the most  wind-resistant south Florida tree but it nevertheless suffered  extensive damage from Hurricane Donna in 1960, particularly on  Palm Key in Florida Bay (9). Cabbage palmetto growing on organic  soil or deep humus deposits are killed by fire burning in this  organic layer because of root mortality and loss of mechanical  support. The extensive use of these trees in urban landscaping is  depleting native stands of mature cabbage palmetto, suggesting a  future need to manage stands for this use.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Dale D. Wade

Source: Silvics of North America

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Population Biology

S. palmetto is abundant throughout the Florida and the Indian River Lagoon system.Locomotion: Sessile.
  • Oosting, H.J. 1954. Ecological processes and vegetation of the maritime strand in the southeastern United States. Botanical Review. 20:226-262.
  • Alexander, T.R. 1955. Observations on the ecology of the low hammocks of southern Florida. Journal of the Florida Academy of Sciences. 18(1): 21-27.
  • Austin, D.F., F.R. Posin, J.N. Burch. 1987. Scrub species patterns on the Atlantic coastal ridge, Florida. Journal of Coastal Research. 3(4):491-198.
  • Duncan, W.H. and M.B. Duncan. 1988. Trees of the southeastern United States. University of Georgia Press. Athens, GA. 322 pp.
  • Monk, C.D. 1966. An ecological study of hardwood swamps in north-central Florida. Ecology. 40(1):1-9.
  • Olson, D.F., R.L. Barnes, Jr. 1974. Sabal palmetto. In: Schopmeyer, C.S., ed. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agriculture Handbook No. 450. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, D.C. pp. 744-745.
  • St. John, H. 1973. List and summary of the flowering plants in the Hawaiian Islands. Cathay Press Limited, Hong Kong. 519 pp.
  • Wade, D.D. and Langdon, O.G. 1990. Sabal palmetto (Walt.) Lodd. ex J.A. and J.H. Schult. Cabbage palmetto. In: Burns, R.M., B.H. Honkala, technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,Washington, D.C. pp. 762-767.
  • Walker, L.C. 1990. Forests: A naturalists guide to trees and forest ecology. Wiley nature editions. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. New York, NY. 288 pp.
  • Wunderlin, R.P. 1982. Guide to the vascular plants of central Florida. University of South Florida, University Presses of Florida, Tampa, FL. 472 pp.
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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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General Ecology

Broad-scale Impacts of Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: fire severity, severity

Frequent fires allow cabbage palmetto to form pure stands and invade
mixed stands [19]. Twenty-one years of fires in Everglades National
Park resulted in a net increase in cabbage palmetto stems [17]. Egler
wrote that the increase in fire severity and decrease in fire frequency
following European settlement allowed cabbage palmettos to dominate high
hammock communities in southern Florida [6].
  • 6. Egler, Frank E. 1952. Southeast saline Everglades vegetation, Florida, and its management. Vegetatio. 3: 213-265. [11479]
  • 17. Taylor, Dale L.; Herndon, Alan. 1981. Impact of 22 years of fire on understory hardwood shrubs in slash pine communities within Everglades National Park. Report T-640. Homestead, FL: National Park Service, South Florida Research Center, Everglades National Park. 30 p. [11961]
  • 19. Wade, Dale D.; Langdon, O. Gordon. 1990. Sabal palmetto (Walt.) Lodd. ex J. A. & J. H. Schult. cabbage palmetto. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 762-767. [13806]

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Fire Ecology

Cabbage palmetto grows in areas where ground fires are frequent and
common but crown fires are rare. It has a well-protected, deeply
imbedded terminal bud, which is held aloft on a fire-resistant trunk.
It survives fire [19].
  • 19. Wade, Dale D.; Langdon, O. Gordon. 1990. Sabal palmetto (Walt.) Lodd. ex J. A. & J. H. Schult. cabbage palmetto. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 762-767. [13806]

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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: climax

The successional status of cabbage palmetto is disputed. Wade and
Langdon [19] described it as shade-tolerant, and characteristic of
climatic climax, and fire climax communities. Daubenmire [4], however,
described it as an early seral, woody invader of open savannas.
Similarly, Zona [23] reported that it is shade intolerant and that
seedlings under a closed canopy remain suppressed and form no
aboveground stem. Stem elongation and sexual maturation await gap
formation in the canopy. In more open habitats along forest edges, on
dunes, and in abandoned fields, growth and recruitment are immediate
with no suppressed stage. Cabbage palmetto thrives in anthropogenic
habitats.
  • 4. Daubenmire, Rexford. 1990. The Magnolia grandiflora-Quercus virginiana forest of Florida. American Midland Naturalist. 123: 331-347. [10871]
  • 19. Wade, Dale D.; Langdon, O. Gordon. 1990. Sabal palmetto (Walt.) Lodd. ex J. A. & J. H. Schult. cabbage palmetto. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 762-767. [13806]
  • 23. St. John, Harold. 1973. List and summary of the flowering plants in the Hawaiian islands. Hong Kong: Cathay Press Limited. 519 p. [25354]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: phanerophyte

Phanerophyte

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Life Form

More info for the term: tree

Tree

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Plant Response to Fire

Most fires probably favor cabbage palmetto growth by removing
competition.

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Regeneration Processes

Cabbage palmetto flowers are insect pollinated [13,19,23]. Fruits
persist on the spadix until removed by wind, rain, or birds such as
ringed-neck gulls, fish crows, cardinals, and blue jays. On the ground,
cabbage palmetto seeds are eaten or cached by small mammals. Birds and
mammals act as dispersal agents. Cabbage palmetto seeds are buoyant and
salt resistant. Near coastal areas, water is an important means of seed
dispersal as well [23]. Meyers (1977 in [19]) reports that seed
survival is low. Of roughly 620,000 seeds produced per acre
(1,500,000/ha), only about 9 percent survive frugivory. Seeds exposed
to sunlight for long periods do not germinate well. The first year's
growth consists of a primary root, one fully expanded leaf, and a
rhizomatous stem. There is no information on vegetative growth [19].
  • 13. Olson, David F., Jr.; Barnes, R. L. 1974. Sabal Adans. palmetto. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., ed. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agriculture Handbook No. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 744-745. [7744]
  • 19. Wade, Dale D.; Langdon, O. Gordon. 1990. Sabal palmetto (Walt.) Lodd. ex J. A. & J. H. Schult. cabbage palmetto. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 762-767. [13806]
  • 23. St. John, Harold. 1973. List and summary of the flowering plants in the Hawaiian islands. Hong Kong: Cathay Press Limited. 519 p. [25354]

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Broad-scale Impacts of Fire

When growing on organic soil or soil with a deep organic layer, very
severe fires may consume the soil itself, killing cabbage palmettos by
root damage and lack of mechanical support [19].
  • 19. Wade, Dale D.; Langdon, O. Gordon. 1990. Sabal palmetto (Walt.) Lodd. ex J. A. & J. H. Schult. cabbage palmetto. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 762-767. [13806]

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Immediate Effect of Fire

Cabbage palmettos probably sustain only superficial damage from most
fires.

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Post-fire Regeneration

not applicable

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Reaction to Competition

Cabbage palmetto is classed as  shade tolerant and is probably a climatic climax as well as a  fire climax. Since intensive management of cabbage palmetto has  not been tried, the effects of various silvicultural treatments  are conjectural. But its management would appear to be simple and  straightforward, with the tree managed in either pure or mixed  stands under either an even-or all-age management system.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Dale D. Wade

Source: Silvics of North America

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

Cabbage palmetto flowers from April to August, depending on latitude.
Fruits begin to develop in the fall and are mature by winter [13,19,23].
  • 13. Olson, David F., Jr.; Barnes, R. L. 1974. Sabal Adans. palmetto. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., ed. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agriculture Handbook No. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 744-745. [7744]
  • 19. Wade, Dale D.; Langdon, O. Gordon. 1990. Sabal palmetto (Walt.) Lodd. ex J. A. & J. H. Schult. cabbage palmetto. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 762-767. [13806]
  • 23. St. John, Harold. 1973. List and summary of the flowering plants in the Hawaiian islands. Hong Kong: Cathay Press Limited. 519 p. [25354]

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Flowering/Fruiting

Flowering spring--summer (northern part of range) or year around (southern part of range).
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Reproduction

Vegetative Reproduction

No information available.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Dale D. Wade

Source: Silvics of North America

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Seedling Development

Germination of cabbage palmetto is  hypogeal. Like other palms, it grows upward from a single  terminal bud and outward from the fibrovascular bundles  distributed throughout its trunk. Because seeds germinate from  middle to late summer, seedling growth the first year normally  consists of a primary root, one fully expanded leaf with stem  growth obliquely downward forming the rhizome. Ecotypic  differences between northern and southern seed sources in  seedling photosynthetic and biomass growth rates have been  observed (3).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Dale D. Wade

Source: Silvics of North America

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Seed Production and Dissemination

The fruits mature in  the fall and persist on the spadix until removed by wind, rain,  or birds such as ring billed gulls, fish crows, cardinals, and  blue jays. Once on the ground, the fruits are eaten by numerous  animals or cached by rodents; such caches result in dense patches  of seedlings (3,14,19). In near-coast situations, however, the  major means of dissemination appears to be by water. The  distribution of cabbage palmetto along the Atlantic shoreline is  attributed to the seed's buoyancy and tolerance of saltwater.  Thus, the range of cabbage palmetto is a function of the speed  and direction of estuarine and littoral currents along a  shoreline. This fact explains the species spread northward along  the Atlantic Coast and its expansion westward along the Gulf  Coast (3).

    Cabbage palmetto produces large numbers of fruits and seeds each  year. In a cabbage-palm hammock in southwest Florida, an  estimated 1,530,000/ha of ripe fruits (620,000/acre) were  produced per year, of which 9 percent contained intact seeds  after 6 months, 1 percent were infested by beetles, and 89  percent had been totally consumed or removed from the site (19).

    Predation of cabbage palmetto seeds by a bruchid beetle (Caryobruchus  gleditsiae) is the major cause of seed loss and regeneration  failure (3,32). When seeds are carried off by animals, the  probability of predation by this insect is greatly reduced. Seeds  falling into water also escape this predation because they tend  to be covered by sand or organic debris, so that germination  occurs when temperature and moisture conditions become favorable.  However, infestation of the fruit while still on the tree is  substantial and can reach 98 percent (5). Seeds exposed to the  sun for long periods do not germinate well (3).

    Germination of cabbage palmetto seeds is hastened by  stratification in moist sand for 30 days at 3° C (37°  F) (18). Dormancy is also broken if the micropyle cap is removed.  For example, germination of untreated seed was 36 percent in 100  days but was increased to 84 percent or more in 4 days by removal  of the micropyle cap (29). Moisture and temperature requirements  for germination are satisfactorily met throughout its range.  Although the species does not reproduce on the fore dune or beach  face, substrate salinity levels encountered on the lee side of  dunes or in upper reaches of tidal creeks and marshes do not  represent an establishment problem (3).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Flowering and Fruiting

Flowers are perfect, about 6 mm  (0.25 in) in diameter by 3 mm (0.125 in) long, and creamy to  yellowish white (19,29). The showy flowers are borne in profusion  in arching or drooping clusters 1.5 to 2.5 m (5 to 8 ft) long,  from April through August in south Florida but for only a 4- to  6-week period beginning in the middle of July in North Carolina  (3,31). The fragrant flowers are pollinated by bees, although   other insects may be of local importance (3). The fruits are  black, fleshy, drupelike berries, 5 to 13 mm (0.2 to 0.5 in) in  diameter and averaging about 10 mm (0.4 in), each containing a  single, hard, brown, spherical seed (2,3).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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S. palmetto flowers from April through August, depending upon latitude. S. palmetto is insect pollinated. Fruit develops throughout the fall, and ripens in winter (St. John 1973; Olson and Barnes 1974; Wade and Langdon 1990). Birds and small mammals that eat the fruit of this tree aid in seed dispersal.
  • Oosting, H.J. 1954. Ecological processes and vegetation of the maritime strand in the southeastern United States. Botanical Review. 20:226-262.
  • Alexander, T.R. 1955. Observations on the ecology of the low hammocks of southern Florida. Journal of the Florida Academy of Sciences. 18(1): 21-27.
  • Austin, D.F., F.R. Posin, J.N. Burch. 1987. Scrub species patterns on the Atlantic coastal ridge, Florida. Journal of Coastal Research. 3(4):491-198.
  • Duncan, W.H. and M.B. Duncan. 1988. Trees of the southeastern United States. University of Georgia Press. Athens, GA. 322 pp.
  • Monk, C.D. 1966. An ecological study of hardwood swamps in north-central Florida. Ecology. 40(1):1-9.
  • Olson, D.F., R.L. Barnes, Jr. 1974. Sabal palmetto. In: Schopmeyer, C.S., ed. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agriculture Handbook No. 450. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, D.C. pp. 744-745.
  • St. John, H. 1973. List and summary of the flowering plants in the Hawaiian Islands. Cathay Press Limited, Hong Kong. 519 pp.
  • Wade, D.D. and Langdon, O.G. 1990. Sabal palmetto (Walt.) Lodd. ex J.A. and J.H. Schult. Cabbage palmetto. In: Burns, R.M., B.H. Honkala, technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,Washington, D.C. pp. 762-767.
  • Walker, L.C. 1990. Forests: A naturalists guide to trees and forest ecology. Wiley nature editions. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. New York, NY. 288 pp.
  • Wunderlin, R.P. 1982. Guide to the vascular plants of central Florida. University of South Florida, University Presses of Florida, Tampa, FL. 472 pp.
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Growth

Rotting Habit

The underground stem of cabbage palmetto is  short and bulbous, surrounded by a dense mass of contorted roots  commonly 1.2 to 1.5 m (4 to 5 ft) in diameter and 1.5 to 1.8 rn  (5 to 6 ft) deep. From this mass, tough, light-orange roots often  almost 13 mm (0.5 in) in diameter penetrate the soil for a  distance of 4.6 to 6.1 m (15 to 20 ft) (22).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Growth and Yield

Since palms do not have a cambium as  such, they do not produce annual growth rings. Cabbage palmetto  reaches its maximum development in south-central Florida, but  good growth also occurs along the Gulf Coast to the Apalachicola  River. Mature trees are straight, unbranched, with heights from  10 to 25 m (33 to 82 ft) and diameters of 30 to 61 cm (12 to 24  in) (21). A dense well rounded crown is almost always formed. On   many trees the leaf bases or "boots" remain securely  attached while on others they slough off, leaving a fairly smooth  trunk (fig. 3). Diameters are exaggerated when these boots remain  attached to the trunk. Average growth rates are unknown. One  specimen, planted as an ornamental in south-central Florida, grew  to a height of 9 m (30 ft) and a diameter including boots of  about 76 cm (30 in) in 16 years (6).

    Few stand measurements of cabbage palmetto have been made; stem  counts, in the rockland pine forest of Everglades National Park  (28) and in the sandy marl pine-palm association (4) and the  mixed swamp forest of the Big Cypress National Preserve (27),  showed cabbage palm to be rather abundant, with stems numbering  900/ha (364/acre), 500/ha (202/acre), and 180/ha (73/acre),  respectively. In a cabbage-palm hammock just north of the Big  Cypress Swamp, the count of cabbage palmetto was 1,010/ha  (409/acre), with a basal area of 53.0 m² /ha (231 ft²/acre);  there were 7,150 palm seedlings per hectare (2,895/acre) under  breast height (19).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Seeds are buoyant and salt resistant, requiring no pretreatment in order to break dormancy. Germination is hastened by planting seeds in moist sand at 3 ? C (38? F) for 30 days. Optimum planting depth is 1.5 - 3 cm (0.5 - 1 inch) in light soil. Seed survival is reported to be low due to consumption by animals. Wade and Langdon (1990) reported that as little as 9% of 620,000 seeds produced per acre survived frugivory.First year growth consists of the primary root, one fully expanded leaf, and a rhizomatous stem (Wade and Langdon 1990).
  • Oosting, H.J. 1954. Ecological processes and vegetation of the maritime strand in the southeastern United States. Botanical Review. 20:226-262.
  • Alexander, T.R. 1955. Observations on the ecology of the low hammocks of southern Florida. Journal of the Florida Academy of Sciences. 18(1): 21-27.
  • Austin, D.F., F.R. Posin, J.N. Burch. 1987. Scrub species patterns on the Atlantic coastal ridge, Florida. Journal of Coastal Research. 3(4):491-198.
  • Duncan, W.H. and M.B. Duncan. 1988. Trees of the southeastern United States. University of Georgia Press. Athens, GA. 322 pp.
  • Monk, C.D. 1966. An ecological study of hardwood swamps in north-central Florida. Ecology. 40(1):1-9.
  • Olson, D.F., R.L. Barnes, Jr. 1974. Sabal palmetto. In: Schopmeyer, C.S., ed. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agriculture Handbook No. 450. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, D.C. pp. 744-745.
  • St. John, H. 1973. List and summary of the flowering plants in the Hawaiian Islands. Cathay Press Limited, Hong Kong. 519 pp.
  • Wade, D.D. and Langdon, O.G. 1990. Sabal palmetto (Walt.) Lodd. ex J.A. and J.H. Schult. Cabbage palmetto. In: Burns, R.M., B.H. Honkala, technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,Washington, D.C. pp. 762-767.
  • Walker, L.C. 1990. Forests: A naturalists guide to trees and forest ecology. Wiley nature editions. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. New York, NY. 288 pp.
  • Wunderlin, R.P. 1982. Guide to the vascular plants of central Florida. University of South Florida, University Presses of Florida, Tampa, FL. 472 pp.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Genetics

The only available information on varieties pretains to growth  differences between seedlings at Smith Island, NC, and Miami, FL.  Both the biomass and the photosynthetic rate of the Miami  seedlings were more than twice that of the Smith Island plants,  differences that were statistically significant (3).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Sabal palmetto

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Status

Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status (e.g. threatened or endangered species, state noxious status, and wetland indicator values).

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Management

Management considerations

The extensive use of cabbage palmetto for urban landscaping is depleting
natural stocks. Cabbage palmetto management is clearly needed, though
untried. Wade and Langdon [19] suggest that cabbage palmetto
silviculture should be fairly simple. Even and uneven-aged management
of mixed or pure stands are appropriate. Site drainage and aerial
applications of 2-4-D will damage cabbage palmetto stands [19].
  • 19. Wade, Dale D.; Langdon, O. Gordon. 1990. Sabal palmetto (Walt.) Lodd. ex J. A. & J. H. Schult. cabbage palmetto. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 762-767. [13806]

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Cultivars, improved and selected materials (and area of origin)

These plant materials are somewhat available from commercial sources. Contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service (formerly Soil Conservation Service) office for more information. Look in the phone book under ”United States Government.” The Natural Resources Conservation Service will be listed under the subheading “Department of Agriculture.”

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Established plants tend to self-sow. Fruit drupes may be removed if self-sowing is not desired. The plant has no serious pests. Remove old leaf bases to control their use as hiding places for roaches and other insects.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

More info for the term: tree

Cabbage palmetto is the most wind-resistant tree in southern Florida and
is relatively resistant to damaging insects and other pathogens [19].
It tolerates salt spray and brackish water [23]. These attributes make
cabbage palmetto potentially useful for disturbed site rehabilitation.

Propagation of cabbage palmetto in the nursery requires the collection
of ripe fruits. Seeds can be separated with a macerator or by rubbing
the fruit on hardware cloth. Seeds require no pretreatment to break
dormancy, but stratification in moist sand for 30 days at 38 degrees F
(3 deg C) speeds germination. Seeds should be planted 0.5 to 1 inch
(1.5-3 cm) deep in light soil and should not be allowed to dry out.
There are about 1,650 dried seeds per pound (3,630/kg) [13].
  • 13. Olson, David F., Jr.; Barnes, R. L. 1974. Sabal Adans. palmetto. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., ed. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agriculture Handbook No. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 744-745. [7744]
  • 19. Wade, Dale D.; Langdon, O. Gordon. 1990. Sabal palmetto (Walt.) Lodd. ex J. A. & J. H. Schult. cabbage palmetto. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 762-767. [13806]
  • 23. St. John, Harold. 1973. List and summary of the flowering plants in the Hawaiian islands. Hong Kong: Cathay Press Limited. 519 p. [25354]

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Other uses and values

The terminal bud of cabbage palmetto is edible and tastes somewhat like
cabbage (Brassica spp.)--hence the name. Removal of the bud kills the
tree. Cabbage palmetto leaves are used to make canes, scrub brushes,
thatch, and baskets. Bees use its pollen. Cabbage palmetto is a
popular ornamental [19,23].
  • 19. Wade, Dale D.; Langdon, O. Gordon. 1990. Sabal palmetto (Walt.) Lodd. ex J. A. & J. H. Schult. cabbage palmetto. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 762-767. [13806]
  • 23. St. John, Harold. 1973. List and summary of the flowering plants in the Hawaiian islands. Hong Kong: Cathay Press Limited. 519 p. [25354]

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

Black bears, raccoons, bats, northern bobwhites, wild turkeys,
ring-necked gulls, cardinals, great-tailed grackles, blue jays, and
scrub jays all eat cabbage palmetto fruit [19,23]. White-tailed deer
also eat the fruit, but cabbage palmetto foliage is not browsed [13].
  • 13. Olson, David F., Jr.; Barnes, R. L. 1974. Sabal Adans. palmetto. In: Schopmeyer, C. S., ed. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agriculture Handbook No. 450. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 744-745. [7744]
  • 19. Wade, Dale D.; Langdon, O. Gordon. 1990. Sabal palmetto (Walt.) Lodd. ex J. A. & J. H. Schult. cabbage palmetto. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 762-767. [13806]
  • 23. St. John, Harold. 1973. List and summary of the flowering plants in the Hawaiian islands. Hong Kong: Cathay Press Limited. 519 p. [25354]

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Wood Products Value

Cabbage palmetto wood is sea-worm resistant, splinter resistant, and
unusual looking (no growth rings). It is used for warf pilings, poles,
broom handles, and ornamental table tops [19,21].
  • 19. Wade, Dale D.; Langdon, O. Gordon. 1990. Sabal palmetto (Walt.) Lodd. ex J. A. & J. H. Schult. cabbage palmetto. In: Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 762-767. [13806]
  • 21. Walker, Laurence C. 1990. Forests: A naturalist's guide to trees and forest ecology. Wiley Nature Editions. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 288 p. [13763]

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Special Uses

Cabbage palmetto is so called because of its edible terminal bud  which tastes somewhat like that vegetable. The bud, also called  swamp cabbage, is good both raw and cooked and is commercially  canned and sold. Removal of the bud kills the tree, however.  Cabbage palmetto was an important tree to the Seminole Indians,  who often made their homes on cabbage-palm hammocks (23). They  made bread meal from the fruit, which has a sweet, prunelike  flavor, and they used the palm fronds to thatch their chickees  (huts) and to make baskets (10,22,25). Many other uses of this  tree are documented (17,22,26): pilings for wharfs because they  resist attacks by seaworms, stems, hollowed out to form pipes for  carrying water, ornamental table tops from polished stem  cross-sections, canes, scrub brushes from the bark fibers and  leaf sheaths, and logs for cribbing in early fortifications  because they did not produce lethal splinters when struck by  cannonballs.

    Currently, young cabbage palmetto fronds are collected and shipped  worldwide each spring for use on Palm Sunday. This tree is in  flower when many other plants are not and is a significant source  of a strong but delicious dark-amber honey.

    Perhaps the most important uses are as an ornamental and as  wildlife food. The sheer magnitude of its annual fruit crop is  such that it provides a substantial part of the diet of many  animals such as deer, bear, raccoon, squirrel, bobwhite, and wild  turkey (12,13, 18, 19, 20).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Benefit in IRL: S. palmetto is not only a popular ornamental plant throughout its range, it also provides food for many birds and mammals of the Indian River Lagoon, including the threatened scrub jay. S. palmetto is widely cultivated in Hawaii. Its commercial uses include wharf pilings, poles, table tops, and broom handles (Walker 1990; Wade and Langdon 1990).
  • Oosting, H.J. 1954. Ecological processes and vegetation of the maritime strand in the southeastern United States. Botanical Review. 20:226-262.
  • Alexander, T.R. 1955. Observations on the ecology of the low hammocks of southern Florida. Journal of the Florida Academy of Sciences. 18(1): 21-27.
  • Austin, D.F., F.R. Posin, J.N. Burch. 1987. Scrub species patterns on the Atlantic coastal ridge, Florida. Journal of Coastal Research. 3(4):491-198.
  • Duncan, W.H. and M.B. Duncan. 1988. Trees of the southeastern United States. University of Georgia Press. Athens, GA. 322 pp.
  • Monk, C.D. 1966. An ecological study of hardwood swamps in north-central Florida. Ecology. 40(1):1-9.
  • Olson, D.F., R.L. Barnes, Jr. 1974. Sabal palmetto. In: Schopmeyer, C.S., ed. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Agriculture Handbook No. 450. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, D.C. pp. 744-745.
  • St. John, H. 1973. List and summary of the flowering plants in the Hawaiian Islands. Cathay Press Limited, Hong Kong. 519 pp.
  • Wade, D.D. and Langdon, O.G. 1990. Sabal palmetto (Walt.) Lodd. ex J.A. and J.H. Schult. Cabbage palmetto. In: Burns, R.M., B.H. Honkala, technical coordinators. Silvics of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,Washington, D.C. pp. 762-767.
  • Walker, L.C. 1990. Forests: A naturalists guide to trees and forest ecology. Wiley nature editions. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. New York, NY. 288 pp.
  • Wunderlin, R.P. 1982. Guide to the vascular plants of central Florida. University of South Florida, University Presses of Florida, Tampa, FL. 472 pp.
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Uses

Ethnobotanic: The Seminole, Houma, Choctaw, and other Native American peoples in the southeastern United States used cabbage palmetto for a wide variety of purposes. The white, crisp palm hearts were eaten either raw or cooked by boiling or steaming. The leaf buds are purported to taste like cabbage. However, both of these food uses--the heart and the buds--result in the death of the plant. The palm fruits, which ripen in the fall, are small and mostly seed, but they are sweet with a slight bitter aftertaste. The seeds and berries were used for headaches and to lower fevers. The plants provided fiber and wood used to construct houses, make food paddles, drying frames for animal skins, potato drying mats, fish drags, fish poison, ballsticks, arrows and hunting dance staffs. Most Seminole homes were built from the cabbage palm. Logs would be used as poles for the framework of huts that were thatched with the fan-shaped leaves. Split logs were used for flooring. Immature fronds were bleached in the sun, cut into strips, and plaited to make long strips, which were used for lashing or sewn together to make baskets. The stiff midribs of the leaves were sometimes used to construct ball sticks or racquets. Palmetto-thatched houses may still be found in Houma country in Louisiana.

Wildlife: Fruits ripen in the late fall and are eaten by crows, mockingbirds, warblers, pileated and red-bellied woodpeckers and squirrels. Palmetto fruits provide 10% to 25% of the diet of raccoons and robins in the Southeast.

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Wikipedia

Sabal palmetto

Sabal palmetto from von Martius' "Historia naturalis palmarum"
Sabal palmetto growing near the South Carolina state capitol in Columbia

Sabal palmetto, also known as cabbage palm,[1] palmetto, cabbage palmetto,[1] palmetto palm, blue palmetto,[1] Carolina palmetto,[2] common palmetto,[2] swamp cabbage[3] and sabal palm, is one of 15 species of palmetto palm (Arecaceae, genus Sabal). It is native to the subtropical Gulf coast/south Atlantic coast of the USA, as well as Cuba,[4] the Turks & Caicos Islands, and the Bahamas.[4]

In the United States the native range of Sabal Palmetto is the coastal plains of the Gulf states and south Atlantic states from Cape Fear, NC south to Florida ,.[5][6] It is the state tree of both South Carolina and Florida.

Description[edit]

Sabal palmetto grows up to 65 ft (20 m) in height (with exceptional individuals up to 92 ft (28 m) in height, with a trunk up to 2 ft (60 cm) diameter. It is a distinct fan palm (Arecaceae tribe Corypheae), with a bare petiole which extends as a center spine or midrib, (costa) 1/2 to 2/3 the length into a rounded, costapalmate fan of numerous leaflets. A costapalmate leaf has a definite costa (midrib) unlike the typical palmate or fan leaf, but the leaflets are arranged radially like in a palmate leaf. All costapalmate leaves are markedly recurved or arched backwards. Each leaf is 5 to 6.5 ft (1.5–2 m) long, with 40-60 leaflets up to 2.6 ft (80 cm) long.

The flowers are yellowish-white, .20 in (5 mm) across, produced in large compound panicles up to 8.2 ft (2.5 m) long, extending out beyond the leaves. The fruit is a black drupe about .5 in (1.3 cm) long containing a single seed. It is extremely salt-tolerant and is often seen growing near both the Atlantic Ocean coast and the Gulf of Mexico coast.

Sabal Palmetto is hardy to USDA zone 8, and has been reported to have some cold hardness down to -13 C (7 F). Maintenance of the Cabbage Palm tree is very easy and very adaptable. The Cabbage Palm is known to tolerate drought, standing water and brackish water. Even though this palm is drought-tolerant, it thrives on regular light watering and regular feeding. It is highly tolerant of salt winds, but not saltwater flooding.[7]

Historical background[edit]

The cabbage-like terminal bud has been eaten as hearts of palm. The bristles on the sheaths of young leaves have been made into scrubbing brushes. The trunks have been used as wharf piles. On June 28, 1776, Charleston patriots under William Moultrie made a fort of palmetto trunks and from it defended successfully against the British in the Revolutionary War.[8]

Cultivation and uses[edit]

Sabal palmetto shows remarkable tolerance of salt, even being able to grow where washed by sea water at high tide. Note the palm in the forefront has not had the "boots" removed, while the palm to the far right has. Virginia Beach, Virginia

Sabal palmetto is a popular landscape plant known for its tolerance of salt spray and cold. Because of their relatively long establishment period and prevalence on ranchlands, few, if any are grown from seed in nurseries. Instead, established plants are dug in the wild with small rootballs since virtually all the severed roots die and must be replaced by new roots in the new location. Most leaves are removed at this time to reduce transpiration. It is the state tree of South Carolina and Florida. Most references rate the species as hardy to USDA hardiness zone 8a. Cabbage palms have good hurricane resistance, but are frequently overpruned for a variety of reasons.

The growing heart of the new fronds, also known as the terminal bud, gives the tree its "cabbage" name, since this is extracted as a food and tastes like other undifferentiated plant meristem tissue, such as the heart of a cabbage or artichoke. It is one of several palm species that is sometimes used to make heart of palm salad. Heart of palm was commonly eaten by Aboriginal Americans. However, extracting the heart will kill this species of palm, because the terminal bud is the only point from which the palm can grow and without this bud the palm will not be able to replace old leaves and will eventually die.

The cabbage palm is remarkably resistant to fire, floods, coastal conditions, cold, high winds and drought. Despite this, alarming causes of recent mortality include rising sea level (most noticed on the Big Bend Coast of Florida), and Texas phoenix palm decline (TPPD) a phytoplasma currently found on the west coast of Florida.

Sabal palmetto trunks appear in two different conditions, which can be confusing (see photo). When leaves die, the leaf bases typically persist for a while, creating a spiky, "basketweave" effect. These remnant leaf bases are called "bootjacks" or "boots", for short. The name stems from the "Y" shape that was reminiscent of devices used to aid individuals in removing boots. Transplanted palms are sometimes deliberately shorn of these bootjacks. Taller specimens are more likely to have lost their bootjacks and appear relatively smooth and columnar. The loss of bootjacks is a natural, if poorly understood, phenomenon as the palm does not create a leaf abscission zone so the loss of the leaf bases results from some other physical or biological process.

Sabal 'Lisa'[edit]

Recently, a new mutant form of Sabal palmetto has been discovered in South West Florida, and named as a cultivar Sabal palmetto 'Lisa'. The difference between the 'Lisa' and the wild-type Sabal palmetto is in the form of the leaf. The 'Lisa' has leaves that are costapalmate, acute, not pendulous, not filamentose, rigid, not strongly divided, cupped, and slightly undulating. This mutation of Sabal palmetto is beginning to be seen in the nursery trade, as it is just as hardy to cold, salt, drought, fire and wind as the wild type of the species, but looks different. Two specimens can be seen in Fort Myers, Florida at the intersection of Luckett Road and I-75, and many seed is collected and distributed from these specimens. Seeds from Sabal palmetto 'Lisa' have a 68% chance of becoming true to type, the other 32% develop as the wild type.[9]

Symbolic use[edit]

A silhouette of a palmetto (S. palmetto) appears on the official flag of the US State of South Carolina.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d John H. Wiersema. "USDA GRIN taxonomy". Ars-grin.gov. Retrieved 2014-03-22. 
  2. ^ a b "US Forest Service Silvics Manual: ''Sabal palmetto''". Na.fs.fed.us. Retrieved 2014-03-22. 
  3. ^ James M. Stephens (1994). "Cabbage, Swamp — Sabal palmetto (Walt.) Lodd ex Schult. & Schult.f., Fact Sheet HS-571". University of Florida, Florida Cooperative Extension Service. 
  4. ^ a b Van Deelen, Timothy R. 1991. Sabal palmetto. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service
  5. ^ Diana L. Immel (2001). "Cabbage Palmetto Sabal palmetto (Walt.) Lodd. ex J.A. & J.H. Schultes". United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service. 
  6. ^ "USDA PLANTS database". 
  7. ^ "Real Palm Trees". Palm Tree General Description. 
  8. ^ Peattie, Donald Culross. Trees You Want to Know. Whitman Publishing Company, Racine, Wisconsin, 1934. p36
  9. ^ "A new cultivar of Sabal palmetto". Palm Tree General Description. 
  10. ^ Netstate, South Carolina State Flag
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Notes

Comments

Sabal palmetto grows in a variety of habitats, from pine and oak associations to coastal dunes and to coastal marshes (K. E. Brown 1976; S. Zona 1990). Like S. minor, it is polymorphic at the extremes of its range; however, differences in stature, size, and trunk characteristics are not of a magnitude to warrant taxonomic rank. In the pine rocklands of Dade County, Florida, S. palmetto may flower and fruit with little or no aboveground trunk. 

 Although Sabal palmetto is a moderately important honey plant, its greatest economic use is as an ornamental.

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

The currently accepted scientific name for cabbage palmetto is Sabal
palmetto (Walt.) Lodd. (Arecaceae). There are no infrataxa [22].
  • 22. Zona, Scott. 1990. A monograph of Sabal (Arecaceae: Coryphoideae). Aliso. 12(4): 583-666. [12476]

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Common Names

cabbage palmetto

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Synonyms

Sabal jamesiana Small

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