Sabal minor (Jacq.) Pers.
  • ALTERNATE COMMON NAME: dwarf palmetto
  • LEAVES: large, “palmaceous”, weakly costapalmate, blades suborbicular, fan-shaped, 1-4’ wide, with 32 to 50 palmate segments; filamentous threads not present between segments; petioles up to 3’ long
  • FLOWER: bisexual, white, ca. 0.2” wide; inflorescences paniculate, exerted above leaves; flowering May to July
  • FRUIT: brownish-black roundish drupe ca. 0.3” broad
  • BARK: on above-ground stems, rough, covered with old leaf bases
  • FORM: shrub with stems usually subterranean, but sometimes expressed above ground to 6-8’ tall on wet sites with high water table (Sabal louisiana W. Darby has been applied to plants with above-ground stems but this entity is conventionally lumped with S. minor)
  • HABITAT: better drained areas in bottomland hardwoods, wet-mesic hardwood flatwoods, rich-soil mesic upland hardwood forest, alkali flatwoods and barrens
  • WETLAND DESIGNATION: Facultative Wetland (FACW): Usually occurs in wetlands, but may occur in non-wetlands of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain Region
  • RANGE: southeastern coastal plain  [USGS Range Map]
  • USES: honey, ornamental; historically used for thatch roofing
  • WILDLIFE: fruit eaten by black bear and deer; deer also eat flowering stems/inflorescences
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. shrubby palm (rarely with above-ground trunk)
    2. large palmaceous fan-shaped leaves with long petioles
    3. lacking fibrous threads between leaf segments
    4. exerted panicle