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Sabal palmetto, also known as Cabbage Palm, Palmetto, Cabbage Palmetto,Palmetto Palm, and Sabal Palm, is one of 15 species of palmetto palm (Arecaceae, genus Sabal). It is native to the southeastern United States, Cubamarker, and the Bahamasmarker. In the United Statesmarker it occurs throughout Floridamarker and coastal areas of Georgiamarker, South Carolinamarker, Mississippimarker, Alabamamarker, North Carolinamarker and Virginiamarker. Although historically reported from Chincoteague, Virginiamarker, this population has long been extirpated. It is the state tree of South Carolina and Florida.

Sabal palmetto grows up to 65 ft (20 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 2/3rds the length into a rounded, costapalmate fan of numerous leaflets. A costapalmate leaf has a definte 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 long containing a single seed. It is extremely salt-tolerant and is often seen growing near the Atlantic Oceanmarker coast. For a palm tree, Sabal palmetto is very cold-hardy--it is commonly accepted that Sabal palmetto is able to survive relatively short periods of temperatures as low as 7 °F (-14 °C). However, it has also been reported to survive temperatures much lower. 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.

Cultivation and uses

Sabal palmetto shows remarkable tolerance of salt, even being able to grow where washed by sea water at high tide
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 Carolinamarker and Floridamarker. Most references rate the species as hardy to USDA hardiness zone 8a without protection, although with protection, proper siting, and care it can be grown in zone 7. 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 superficially resembles a cabbage head in shape and tastes like an artichoke. It is what is referred to in a Heart of palm salad. This was commonly eaten by Aboriginal Americans. However, this practice is very destructive as it will kill the 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.

Fruiting panicles


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