(Arecaceae Sabal palmetto)
Adopted on March 17, 1939.
The Cabbage Palmetto, Arecaceae
Sabal palmetto, was adopted as the
"Official State Tree of the State of
South Carolina" by Joint Resolution No.
63, approved March 17, 1939.
The South Carolina Palmetto is
classified by the U.S. Department of
Agriculture as "Inodes Palmetto (also
called Sabal Palmetto) and commonly
known as the Cabbage Palmetto."
It has long been closely associated
with the history of South Carolina,
being represented on the State Flag as
well as on the State Seal, where it is
symbolical of the defeat of the British
fleet by the fort, built of Palmetto
logs, on Sullivan's Island.
The Palmetto is an attractive feature of
the coastal areas of South Carolina and
is also found in Georgia, Florida and
North Carolina. The large leafbud is
highly prized as a salad vegetable for
use in making pickles or relishes, and
in Florida some use has been made of the
fibers from the leaf bases. Such uses,
however, are wasteful since the palm
must be destroyed in either case and
years must lapse before it can be
Cabbage palmetto (Sabal palmetto) is the
most northerly and abundant of the
native tree palms. Other names sometimes
used are Carolina palmetto, common
palmetto, palmetto, and cabbage-palm.
This medium-sized unbranched evergreen
palm commonly grows on sandy shores,
along brackish marshes, in seacoast
woodlands of Southeastern United States
and throughout peninsular Florida. It
can tolerate a broad range of soil
conditions and is often planted as a
street tree. Abundant fruit crops
provide a good supply of food to many
kinds of wildlife.
- Leaf: Alternate,
palmately compound, fan shaped;
leaflets very long (4 to 6 feet) and
lance shaped, leaf stalks are long,
extend through the leaf, and are
without sharp edges; green in color,
overall leaf nearly round and
several feet long.
- Flower: Small white
flowers occurring on large (several
feet), branched clusters, appearing
in early summer.
- Fruit: Fleshy drupe,
nearly round, 1/3 to 1/2 inch
across, dark shiny blue, maturing in
early fall and persistent into the
- Twig: Absent, since
leaves appear directly out of
- Bark: Gray brown, tough,
- Form: Tall (to 80 feet),
straight trunk with a short rounded
||Plantae -- Plants
||Spermatophyta – Seed
||Arecaceae – Palm family
||Sabal Adans. –
(Walt.) Lodd. ex J.A. & J.H.
Schultes – cabbage palmetto
Dendrology at Virginia Tech
U.S. Department of Agriculture