Sabal palmetto

(Photo by Marcel Smith)

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Taxonomy (1)

Classification: Angiosperm, monocot
Family: Arecaceae
Common name: Sabal palm, Cabbage palm

General Information (1)

Region of Origin: Southeastern United States, Cuba, Bahamas
USDA Plants Hardiness Zones: 8-10
Growth Habit: Tree, but not a true tree

  • Size: 50-70 feet
  • Fruiting: Late fall to early winter

Diagnostic Characteristics

Leaves (1)

  • Other: Yellow-green to dull green in color, leaves are about 12 feet long

(Photo by Marcel Smith)

Stem/Bark (2)

  • Other: No bark, becomes wider towards the top

(Photo by Marcel Smith)

Flower (1) 

  • Color: Creamy white

Fruit (1)

  • Fruit type: Drupe
  • Color: Purple to yellow

Horticultural Information (1,3)

  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Maintenance: Easy to care for
  • Landscape Uses: Beachside, ornamentals, and along streets
  • Other: Salt and drought tolerant

Interesting Facts (2)

  • The "heart" tastes like cabbage, but it kills the plant when it is removed


1) Scheper, J. (2004). Sabal palmetto. Floridata. April 1, 2013, from
2) Stibolt, G. (n.d.). Palmettos in the Landscape. Floridata. April 1, 2013, from
3) Butler, M. (n.d.). How to Prune a Sabal Palmetto. Ehow. April, 2, 2013, from 

Prepared by Marcel Smith as a course requirement for BIOL 3630/5630, Spring 2013
Edited by Jessica Bartek