Common name(s): Cabbage Palm, Sabal Palm
Scientific name: Sabal palmetto
Plant family: Palmae
Origin: Virginia to South Florida, along Gulf Coast, West Indies into South America. Native.
Description: Single trunk, large fan like leaves with V shape stem attachment. Leaves are palmate, 3-5 feet across, green above with gray below. Trunk smooth with crisscross “boots”. Grows up to 40-50 feet. Fruit on long stem in clusters, black.
Growing Conditions: Typically found in local savannas, marshes, swamps and hammocks. Variable soil conditions (excluding sand unless moist), grows in full sun to light shade, salt tolerant, drought tolerant. Grows throughout the state.
Wildlife: Flowers are nectar food for insects and bees with black fruit used by wildlife.
Relation to Nehrling Gardens:
Location in Gardens: Zone 1-entrance of front trail.
Additional Information: Sabal Palm is the state tree for Florida and South Carolina. Used extensively in street landscaping. Hardy palm for any landscape with good air circulation and reduced irrigation after established. In home landscape, palm is typically wind resistant. The edible bud is called “Hearts of Palm”. Once it is removed the tree dies. The “boots” of this palm is used as micro-habitat for lizards, insects and snakes. Some people place bromeliads in these boots with no ill effect.
Issues: Recently due to invasive insects, our native is susceptible to a fungus disease called Ganoderma. This is transmitted by insects such as the Palm weevil or palm caterpillar which leads to fungus growing on damaged lower trunk. How to prevent: dip clippers/loppers in Lysol solution, allow palms to dry throughout the day if using irrigation. Most important provide good surrounding air flow. Do not damage trunks to expose to infestation.
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