The Sabal Palmetto
is commonly known as Cabbage Palmetto
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Cabbage palmetto grows throughout peninsular Florida and the Florida
Keys. It grows in the coastal areas of the Florida panhandle, Georgia,
and South Carolina [19
]. It is cultivated in Hawaii [23
]. Outside of
the United States, cabbage palmetto occurs in the Bahamas and Cuba
The currently accepted scientific name for cabbage palmetto is Sabel
palmetto (Walt.) Lodd. (Arecaceae). There are no infrataxa [22
In southern Florida, cabbage palmetto is a common component of high and
low hammock, tree island, and mixed conifer-hardwood swamp communities
[2,3,7,9,10,13,15]. Elsewhere it grows in more xeric scrub and Miami
rock-ridge inland communities [4,15]. In the Florida Panhandle,
Georgia, and South Carolina, cabbage palmetto grows within 12 miles (20
km) of the coast. It is a componenet of several diverse plant
communities, including those characteristic of dunes, salt flats,
barrier islands, and cactus thickets .
Associates are many and varied because of the diversity of Florida's
flora and the ecological amplitude of cabbage palmetto. Overstory
associates include south Florida slash pine (Pinus elliottii var.
densa), slash pine (P. elliottii var. elliottii), pond pine (P.
serotina), loblolly pine (P. taeda), longleaf pine (P. palustris),
eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana), various evergreen oaks (Quercus
spp.), loblolly-bay (Gordonia lasianthus), red bay (Persea borbonia),
magnolia (Magnolia spp.), sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua), red maple
(Acer rubrum), baldcypress (Taxodium spp.), pignut hickory (Carya
glabra), gumbo-limbo (Bursera simaruba), and cocoplum (Chrysobalanus
icaco). Understory associates include gallberry (Ilex glabra),
huckleberries (Gaylussacia spp.), blueberries (Vaccinium spp.), lyonias
(Lyonia spp.), southern bayberry (Merica cerifera), holly (Ilex spp.),
saw-palmetto (Serenoa repens), greenbriar (Smilax spp.), bracken fern
(Pteridium spp.), poison-ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), bluestem
(Andropogon spp.), sawgrass (Cladium jamaicensis), and beak rush
(Rhynchospora spp.). Exotic associates and probable competitors include
casuarina (Casuarina spp.), melaleuca (Melaleuca quinquenervia), coconut
(Cocos nucifera), and Brazilian peppertree (Schinus terebinthifolia).
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Much of the information presented here is attributed to:
Van Deelen, Timothy R. 1991. Sabal palmetto. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online].
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,
Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available at USDA Forest Service.