Sabal minor

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Sabal minor
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Arecales
Family: Arecaceae
Genus: Sabal
Species: S. minor
Binomial name
Sabal minor
(Jacq.) Pers.

Sabal minor, commonly known as the Dwarf Palmetto or Bush palmetto, is one of about 14 species of palmetto palm (Arecaceae, genus Sabal). It is native to the southeastern United States. In former times, it was said to be native as far north as southeastern Virginia, but its current known range begins about 10 miles south of the Virginia border on Monkey Island in Currituck County, North Carolina, and continues south to Florida. It is widespread along the gulf coast through Louisiana into eastern Texas north to Oklahoma. Although it is mainly found in the southern states, it is one of the only palms that can stand somewhat cooler temperatures, and has been cultivated as north as south-central Pennsylvania. It is one of the most frost-tolerant palms, surviving temperatures as low as −18°C (among North American palms, second only to the Needle Palm Rhapidophyllum hystrix). Its cold-hardiness is variable throughout its range with the Oklahoma native population believed by many to be the cold-hardiest population. This palm may be hardy to zone 6B.

The Dwarf Palmetto grows up to 1 m (rarely 3 m) in height, with a trunk up to 30 cm diameter. It is a fan palm (Arecaceae tribe Corypheae), with the leaves with a bare petiole terminating in a rounded fan of numerous leaflets. Each leaf is 1.5–2 m long, with 40 leaflets up to 80 cm long, conjoined over half of this length. The flowers are yellowish-white, 5 mm across, produced in large compound panicles up to 2 m long, extending out beyond the leaves. The fruit is a black drupe 1–1.3 cm long containing a single seed.

Cultivation[edit]

Sabal minor is one of the most hardy palms, able to survive winters in temperate climates like the northern USA and parts of Europe.[1] It is grown by gardeners and landscapers for this reason. Often those grown in cultivation are strains from the western end of its range in Oklahoma and Texas. One popular strain is 'McCurtain', named after McCurtain County, Oklahoma where they are native. These tend to remain trunkless and smaller than those from warmer areas. This palm has reportedly been grown as far north as Vancouver BC on the West Coast and Connecticut/Long Island, New York on the East Coast of North America. There is a very healthy specimen outdoors at the National Botanical garden in Washington D.C.

Gallery[edit]

Sabal Minors with Needle Palms in the background in Roslyn Harbor, New York

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hardy zone 8, with possibly zone 7 with additional protection

External links[edit]