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Sabal minor (Jacquin) Persoon. Dwarf Palmetto. Phen: May-Jul; Sep-Nov. Hab: Swamps, maritime forests, low moist woods, especially in calcareous soils developed from shell limestone (marl), hardwood flatwoods, marshes, saline barrens, also rarely planted as an ornamental farther inland, where persisting (and appearing native) or possibly naturalizing. Dist: Ne. NC (Currituck County)(or possibly se. VA?) south to c. peninsular FL, west to e. TX, c. TX, se. OK, and s. AR; disjunct in Nuevo León (Goldman 1999). This palm reaches its northern natural range limit at Monkey Island, Currituck County, NC, and other more inland sites just a few miles south of the VA border (L. Musselman, J. Boggan, pers. comm., 2006); no other New World palm has a native range extending so far north. It has been widely planted horticulturally in se. VA and is now naturalized there.

ID notes: We have two widespread species of Sabal in our region, Sabal minor and Sabal palmetto, which are sometimes confused when Sabal palmetto is not yet of tree stature. Sabal minor has a shorter hastula (0.8-7.7 cm long, vs. 5.3-18 cm long) and leaf segments lacking fibrils (vs. with fibrils).

Origin/Endemic status: Native

Synonymy: = Ar, FNA22, GW1, K1, K3, K4, NcTx, Ok, RAB, WH3; = n/a – C, F, G; = Sabal glabra (Mill.) Sarg. – S13; > Sabal deeringiana Small – S; > Sabal louisiana (Darby) Bomhard; < Sabal minor (Jacq.) Pers. – ETx1, Tx, Zona (1990), Zona (1997); > Sabal minor (Jacq.) Pers. – S

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Wetland Indicator Status:

  • Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain: FACW (taxonomic split from wetland indicator species)
  • Eastern Mountains and Piedmont: FACW
  • Great Plains: FACW (taxonomic split from wetland indicator species)
  • Midwest: FACW (taxonomic split from wetland indicator species)

Heliophily ?: 4

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image of plant© Bruce A. Sorrie | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Rob Gardner | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Bruce A. Sorrie | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Alan Cressler: Sabal minor, Savannah River Valley, Augusta-Richmond County, Georgia 1 by Alan Cressler source
image of plant© Alan M. Cressler | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Bruce A. Sorrie | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Alan Cressler: Sabal minor, Gabbro Glades, Oconee National Forest, Jasper County, Georgia 1 by Alan Cressler source
image of plant© Alan Cressler: Sabal minor, Piedmont Physiographic Province, Muscogee County, Georgia, Steve Bowling 2 by Alan Cressler source
image of plant© Alan Cressler: Sabal minor, Tourist Glade, Ketona Dolomite, Kathy Stiles Freeland Bibb County Glades Preserve, The Nature Conservancy, Bibb County, Alabama 1 by Alan Cressler source

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