Sabal palmetto

cabbage palm

Arecaceae (Palmae)

wildlife plant   wildlife plant   wildlife plant

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Use this link to get more info about this plant from the USF Institute for Systematic Botany

Plant Specifics

Form: tree
Life Span: long-lived perennial
Size: Height: to 100 ft    Width: 10 to 20 ft
Flower Color: flower color      white
Fruit Color: fruit color   fruit color      brown,black
Phenology: evergreen
Noted for: Hurricane wind resistance, interesting foliage, interesting bark


Recommended Uses: Specimen plant or in a hurricane resistant grove.
Considerations: Fronds and flower stalks fall. Seeds sprout readily and can require control. In southern part of the state, strangler figs can sprout in the boots and eventually overwhelm the palm.
Propagation: Can be transplanted as an adult, usually obtained from land being cleared. Source can be a conservation concern Also grows from seed. Plants larger than seedlings but too small to have a trunk are difficult to transplant.
Availability: Quality nurseries, Native nurseries, Specialty providers
Light: light requirement   light requirement   light requirement  
Moisture Tolerance:
Salt Tolerance: Highly salt tolerant
Soil or other substrate: Sand, loam


wildlife plant   wildlife plant   wildlife plant  
Larval host plant for Monk Skipper (Asbolis capucinus) butterfly. Seeds used by small mammals such as raccoons. Used by birds for nesting.
Native Habitats: flatwoods, moist hammocks, swamps, river floodplains, ruderal

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida

USDA Zones:

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures

Suitable to grow in:


The large growing tips can be eaten and are said to taste like cabbage, BUT harvesting the growing tip kills the tree.

Other Comments:

Designated as the Florida State Tree. Trees on coastal islands in the Big Bend area are failing to reproduce -- an issue that has been associated with sea level rise. Does not produce wood with annual rings like most trees. It lives as a palmetto type plant for ten years or more until its trunk has achieved enough girth before it starts adding height. Its trunk will not add girth once this happens and palms do not have the ability to heal wounds or gouges in the trunk--so be careful with your palms.