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Cabbage Palm Sabal palmetto

Other Common Name(s):

Other plants called Cabbage Palm:

Phonetic Spelling
SAY-bal pahl-MET-oh
Description

A native tree in the palm (Arecaceae) family. It is not hardy in piedmont or mountains but does well in the southeastern tip of NC's coastal plain.  It is found in maritime forests, marsh edges, and other near-coastal communities.  This plant is highly salt tolerant.

Cabbage Palmetto has fragrant flowers. Leaf-blade has a prominent midrib. Very young leaves/leaf buds are edible, but removing too many can kill the tree. Source of palmetto honey in more southern states. NC Threatened species; found only in Brunswick Co., NC (and in states farther south).

Regions: Coastal Plain

Seasons of Interest:

Bloom: Summer, July

Wildlife Value: Fruits are eaten by birds. This plant is seldom damaged by deer.

Compare this Plant to: Sabal minor

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant#evergreen#wildlife plant#salt tolerant#playground#coastal#small mammals#deer resistant#children's garden#edible fruits#food source fall#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#food source soft-mast fruit#coastal FAC#fruits#bird friendly#audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant#evergreen#wildlife plant#salt tolerant#playground#coastal#small mammals#deer resistant#children's garden#edible fruits#food source fall#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#food source soft-mast fruit#coastal FAC#fruits#bird friendly#audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Sabal
    Species:
    palmetto
    Family:
    Arecaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Seminole, Houma, Choctaw, and other Native American tribes in the southeastern US used this plant for construction of houses, food paddles, drying racks for animal skin, drying mats, fish drags, fish poison, ballsticks, arrows, and staffs. Interestingly, most Seminole homes were built from this plant.
    Play Value:
    Edible fruit
    Textural
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    This plant is seldom damaged from deer. Highly salt tolerant.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 20 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 10 ft. 0 in. - 15 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Columnar
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Blue
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Description:
    Displays from October to November
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Description:
    White, fragrant, 2' flower cluster in July
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Palmate, fan shaped 5 ft. leaves on 2 to 7 ft. stems. Fronds of cabbage palmettos have a distinctive arch (unlike the smaller dwarf palmetto, Sabal minor).
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Recreational Play Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Edible Garden
    Attracts:
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Salt
    Wet Soil