Cold Hardy Palms


Landscape Significance

Highly tolerant of salt spray, it is about as hurricane-proof as a tree can be, so it is ideal for seaside locations.

Flower blossoms are excellent sources of nectar for honey bees and the fruits are relished by squirrels, raccoons, and other wildlife..

Palmetto (Sabal palmetto)
This photo was taken on Meeting Street, Charleston, SC. 

Also known as the Cabbage Palm, Sabal palmetto is South Carolina's official state tree.  It appears on the state flag and the state seal, and gives the state its nickname of the Palmetto State. Its native habitat ranges on the southeastern coast from southern North Carolina to the northern panhandle of Florida.  It has large, blue-green leaves with threadlike strands of fiber hanging from each leaf. The trunk can be a foot and a half across and without trimming, the old leaf-stems (often called "boots") form in a crisscross pattern.

Its growth rate is usually moderate and a mature height of 30 feet is common. It prefers full sun to light shade. Giant palm weevil, cabbage palm caterpillar, and a large number of scales infest this palm. Ganoderma butt rot is perhaps the most serious disease.

Identifying characteristics

Cabbage Palm has a single trunk topped with a very dense, 10 to 15-foot-diameter, round crown of deeply cut, curved, palmate leaves. The leaves are green or blue green, with no spines or teeth on the petioles. They are fan-shaped, divided 1/3 of the way to the base, with long pointed, tapering segments which are split at the tips. Threads may be present. The four to five-foot-long, creamy white, showy flowers are followed by small, shiny, green to black fruits.

More information on palms is available at the Clemson Home & Garden Informaton Center: Clemson HGIC - Palms and Cyads


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