The European Palm Society Palm Database

IntroductionSabalpalmetto

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Sabal palmetto

Genus: Sabal
Species: palmetto
Common Name: Palmetto palm
Country Of Origin: United States
Preferred Aspect: Full sun
General comments:

Sabal palmetto grows up to 65 ft (20 m) in height (with exceptional individuals up to 92 ft (28 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 2/3 the length into a rounded, costapalmate fan of numerous leaflets. A costapalmate leaf has a definite 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 .5 in (1.3 cm) long containing a single seed. 

Sabal palmetto is hardy to USDA zone 8, and has been reported to have some cold hardness down to -13 C (7 F).  It 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.

Whilst having some cold tolerance, they really need a reliable hot summer growing period if they are to grow at their best. In climates with cooler summer conditions, the palms are very slow growing.

Also see entry for variety 'Lisa'

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