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Sabal_mexicana - C.Mart.

Common Name Mexican Palmetto, Rio Grande palmetto, Texas Palmetto
Family Arecaceae or Palmae
USDA hardiness 8-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Mesic hammocks, floodplains, levees, river banks and swamps from sea level to 50 metres[270]. Rich soil of the bottom lands near the coast[82].
Range Southern N. America - Texas to Mexico and Guatemala.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care
Frost Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Sabal_mexicana Mexican Palmetto, Rio Grande palmetto, Texas Palmetto


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Sabal_mexicana Mexican Palmetto, Rio Grande palmetto, Texas 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_mexicana is an evergreen Tree growing to 10 m (32ft) by 4 m (13ft) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8 and is frost tender. It is in leaf all year, in flower from May to August. 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

S. texana.

Habitats

Edible Uses

The fruit is a small dry berry up to 25mm in diameter, with a thin sweet flesh[229]. Although we have seen no records of edibility for this species, the following uses are for the related S. palmetto. They quite probably also apply here[K]. Fruit - raw or cooked[2]. Sweet and pleasant[2]. A nourishing food, though it is said to be an acquired taste[2]. The fruit is up to 12mm long and 3mm wide[200]. Young leaves - raw or cooked. An excellent food[2]. Sap - sweet[2].

Medicinal Uses

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None known

Other Uses

The leaves are used for making baskets, chair seats or thatch[229]. The following reports are for S. palmetto. They quite probably also apply to this species[K]. 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[171]. The roots contain tannin[171].

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Pest tolerant, Massing, Specimen, Street tree. Succeeds in most fertile moist but well-drained soils in a sheltered sunny position[188, 200, 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]. Plants from the north of its range (in Texas) have a reasonably marginal frost-tolerance and might be suitable for growing outdoors in the very mildest areas of the country[231]. 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: North American native, Attractive flowers or blooms.

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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 mexicanaMexican Palmetto, Rio Grande palmetto, Texas Palmetto20

 

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Author

C.Mart.

Botanical References

200229

Links / References

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