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Sabal palmetto - (Walter.)Schult.&Schult.f.

Common Name Cabbage Palmetto, Blue Palmetto, Common Palmetto
Family Arecaceae or Palmae
USDA hardiness 8-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Brackish marshes, seacoast woodlands or hammocks and sandy soils near the coast[229].
Range South-eastern N. America - North Carolina to Florida.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care
Frost Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Sabal palmetto Cabbage Palmetto, Blue Palmetto, Common Palmetto


Sabal palmetto Cabbage Palmetto, Blue Palmetto, Common Palmetto

 

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Summary

Bloom Color: White. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Late summer, Mid summer. Form: Palm, Upright or erect.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Sabal palmetto is an evergreen Tree growing to 6 m (19ft) by 4 m (13ft) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8. It is in leaf all year, in flower in June, and the seeds ripen from October to December. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

Synonyms

Corypha palmetto Walter. Inodes schwarzii O.F. Cook. Sabal jamesiana Small

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; East Wall. By. South Wall. By. West Wall. By.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit;  Leaves;  Sap.
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked[2]. Sweet and pleasant[2]. A small dry berry up to 12mm in diameter, with a thin sweet flesh[229]. A nourishing food, though it is said to be an acquired taste[2]. Young leaves - raw or cooked[171]. An excellent food[2]. The large succulent leaf buds are cooked and eaten as a vegetable[82]. Sap - sweet[2].

Medicinal Uses



Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Analgesic;  Febrifuge.

The berries or seeds have been used in the treatment of grass sickness, low fever, headaches and weight loss[257].

Other Uses

Brush;  Fibre;  Tannin;  Weaving;  Wood.

An excellent fibre is obtained from the leaf stalks[171]. The best quality is from young leaf stalks still in the bud, whilst coarser material is obtained from older leaves or the bases of old leaf stalks surrounding the bud[171]. The fibres are up to 50cm long, they are harvested commercially and used to make brushes, especially where these have to remain stiff in hot water or caustics[82, 171]. Pieces of the spongy bark of the stem are used as a substitute for scrubbing brushes[82]. The leaves are woven to make coarse hats, mats and baskets[82]. The roots contain about 10% tannin[171]. This has been harvested commercially in the past but there is not really enough tannin for profitable extraction[171]. Wood - light and soft[82]. The trunks are used to make wharf piles, whilst polished cross-sections of the trunk have been used as small table tops[82]. The wood is also largely manufactured into canes[82].

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Pest tolerant, Massing, Seashore, Specimen, Street tree. Succeeds in most fertile moist but well-drained soils in a sheltered sunny position[188, 200, 231]. This species usually grows close to the coast and is tolerant of salt spray[231]. Although it prefers a humid atmosphere, this species is tolerant of arid atmospheres so long as it has plenty of moisture available at the roots[231]. This palm tolerates short-lived freezes down to about -10°c and can be grown outdoors in the very mildest areas of the country[231]. This species has been designated the state tree of Florida[229]. Palms usually have deep penetrating root systems and generally establish best when planted out at a young stage. However, older plants are substantially more cold tolerant than juvenile plants[231]. In areas at the limit of their cold tolerance, therefore, it is prudent to grow the plants in containers for some years, giving them winter protection, and only planting them into their permanent positions when sheer size dictates[231]. This species can also be transplanted even when very large. Although the thick fleshy roots are easily damaged and/or desiccated, new roots are generally freely produced. It is important to stake the plant very firmly to prevent rock, and also to give it plenty of water until re-established - removing many of the leaves can also help[231]. A very variable plant in the wild[231]. Special Features: Attracts birds, North American native, Naturalizing, Attracts butterflies, Blooms are very showy.

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Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a warm greenhouse at not less than 24°c[188]. Stored seed is very slow to germinate. Pre-soaking the seed for 24 hours in warm water prior to sowing may shorten the germination time. Plants form a long tap-root some time before forming a shoot. Germination of fresh seed usually takes place in 3 - 4 months at 25°c[138]. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first two winters. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Consider giving them some protection from the cold for at least their first winter outdoors.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Sabal etoniaScrub Palmetto20
Sabal mexicanaMexican Palmetto, Rio Grande palmetto, Texas Palmetto20
Sabal minorBush Palmetto, Dwarf palmetto21

 

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Author

(Walter.)Schult.&Schult.f.

Botanical References

82200229

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

   Sun Oct 24 01:37:11 2004

I live in Perry, Florida. The police arrested three different groups of hispanic men for gathering palmetto seed on private land. That is why I was trying to find out what the seeds were used for. I guess for herbal medicine and weight reducing medicine. I have many of the trees on my land and was just wondering.

Tammy   Sun Mar 26 2006

I just recieved some Seedlings ..I live in oregon they do wonderfull here .. hope they all make it there different ages 50 of them .. thanks for having the info i needed

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