Sabal minor

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Sabal minor
0 Sabal minor - Palmette naine (2).JPG
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[2] or bush palmetto, is one of about 14 species of palmetto palm (Arecaceae, genus Sabal). It is native to the deep southeastern and south-central United States and northeastern Mexico. It is native as far north as southeastern Virginia,[3] and continues south to Florida. It is widespread along the gulf coast through Louisiana, into Central Texas, Arkansas, north to Oklahoma and south in the State of Nuevo León in Mexico.[1]

Among palm species, Sabal minor is one of the most frost and cold tolerant - surviving brief 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. However, Sabal minor needs hot summers to survive in the coldest zones, there it is best adapted to hot low latitude subtropical climates like the southern USA and tropical Australia.

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.[4]


Sabal minor is one of the most cold hardy palms, able to survive winters in warm temperate climates on some cases. Hardy to near 0 F/-18 C. Although native to the deep southern USA, Sabal minor is cultivated in small numbers as far north as Vancouver BC on the West Coast, and Connecticut/Long Island, New York on the East Coast of North America. Large healthy specimens have been growing since the 1960s in areas like Central Tennessee, Washington, DC (National Botanical garden), and in the lower Ohio Valley. There are several cultivars, including those from the Outer Banks of North Carolina (northernmost strains), and those from 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.



  1. ^ a b Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. ^ "Sabal minor". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  3. ^ [1] Studies on the Geography of Virginia
  4. ^ Sabal minor in Flora of North America

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