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Plant Details

Sabal palmetto

Cabbage Palmetto

Scientific Name:

Sabal palmetto

Genus:

Sabal

Species Epithet:

palmetto

Common Name:

Cabbage Palmetto

Plant Type

Tree

Life Cycle

Perennial

Plant Family

Arecaceae (Palm Family)

Native/Alien:

NC Native

Size:

12-36 ft., 36-72 ft.

Bloom Color(s):

White, Yellow

Light:

Sun - 6 or more hours of sun per day, Part Shade - 2 to 6 hours of sun per day

Soil Moisture:

Moist

Bloom Time:

July

Growing Area:

Coastal Plain

Habitat Description:

Maritime forests, marsh edges, and other near-coastal communities. Rare in NC Coastal Plainl.

Leaf Arrangement:

Alternate

Leaf Retention:

Evergreen

Leaf Type:

Leaves veined, not needle-like or scale-like

Leaf Form:

Simple

Life Cycle:

Perennial

Wildlife Value:

Important for Wildlife

Landscape Value:

Recommended and Available

State Rank:

S1: Critically imperiled (*Key)

Global Rank:

G5 - Secure (*Key)

State Status:

T: Threatened (*Key)

Notes:

Fruits eaten by birds.
Cabbage Palm leaves are described in various ways. Some authors say that the leaves are palmate, while another says that the leaves are “intermediate between palmate and pinnate” (Sibley 2009). Weakley (2015) describes the leaves in Sabal spp. as palmate or costapalmate. Mellichamp (2014) and Kirkman, Brown, & Leopold (2007) say that the leaves of Cabbage Palm are simple and alternate, although they have a fan-shaped appearance.

Habitat

Cabbage Palmetto extends into North Carolina only at the southeastern tip, in Brunswick Co. It is common in the maritime forests of the Smith Island complex (Bald Head Island, Middle Island, Bluff Island). It also grows on the edges of marshes and is widely planted. In this photo, the cabbage palmetto is surrounded by dwarf palmettos (Sabal minor).

image

Paynter, Donnelly Wildlife Management Area, SC. March, 2013

Frond

The fronds of cabbage palmettos have a distinctive arch (unlike the smaller dwarf palmetto, Sabal minor) and can be up to 3' across.

image

Close-up of filaments and rib

The filaments and the long, triangular rib are good identification marks to differentiate cabbage palmetto from dwarf palmetto.

image

Trunk

Beneath the fronds, the old leaf bases make a crisscross pattern on the upper trunk. There is no true bark.

image

Links:

USDA PLANTS Database Record


Bird-Friendly Native Plants



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