Flora of the Southeastern United States
2022 Edition

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Key to Sabal

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1 Tree, with erect trunk (though young plants appear as trunkless shrubs, similar in habit to S. minor); leaves 15-30 per plant; hastula 5.3-18 cm long, acute to acuminate; margins of leaf segments with filamentose fibrils; leaf segment apices 2-cleft.
..2 Fruits 14.8-19.3 mm in diameter; seeds 8.6-13.3 mm in diameter; [of se. and s. TX southwards]
..2 Fruits 8.1-13.9 mm in diameter; seeds 5.4-9.7 mm in diameter; [collectively native from e. NC south to s. FL, west to Brazoria County, TX, but also extensively planted inland and along the Gulf Coast]
....3 Flowers 5-8 mm across; inflorescences with 3-4 orders of branching (the main inflorescence axis counting as the first); [Brazoria County, TX]
....3 Flowers 4-7 mm across; inflorescences with 4 orders of branching (the main inflorescence axis counting as the first); [native from e. NC south to s. FL, west to w. Panhandle FL, but extensively planted inland and westwards along the Gulf Coast]
1 Shrub, with subterranean, rhizomatous "trunk" (very rarely emerging as much as 1 meter from the ground); leaves 3-10 per plant; hastula 0.8-7.7 cm long, obtuse to acute; margins of leaf segments with or without filamentose fibrils; leaf segment apices either 2-cleft (S. etonia and S. miamiensis) or entire (S. minor).
......4 Margins of leaf segments without filamentose fibrils; hastula obtuse; fruits 6.4-9.7 mm in diameter; segment apices generally entire; leaves dark green; [of moist to wet habitats, less typically in dry sites, ne. NC south to c. FL peninsula, west to c. TX]
......4 Margins of leaf segments with filamentose fibrils; hastula acute; fruits 9.0-19.0 mm in diameter; segment apices 2-cleft; leaves yellowish green; [of dry sandy or rocky habitats, ne. FL south through FL peninsula]
........5 Fruits 9-15.4 mm in diameter; inflorescences with 3 orders of branching (the main inflorescence axis counting as the first, thus the flowers borne primarily on the third order branches); [deep acid sands of Florida scrub, ne. FL south through FL peninsula]
........5 Fruits 15.7-19.0 mm in diameter; inflorescences with 4 orders of branching (including the main inflorescence axis); [calcareous soils of pine rocklands, s. FL]