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sharonsflorida

Help with ID on possible Sabal minor var. louisiana

6 years ago
last modified: 6 years ago

could you guys help me ID this palm. i think i've narrowed it down, but maybe not. i've read some reports that this variety doesn't even exist.


i've spent hours today trying to key this palm out and my brain hurts. i've been on palm forums, university sites, nursery sites, but i still cannot ID this for sure. i don't trust most sites for positive ID and today showed me exactly why ... most people don't know enough to accurately key out a plant, they post photos that are inaccurate, and use common names that muddy the waters so i was hoping for some expertise from the palm & cycad forum. any help would be greatly appreciated.


the left is the one i'm trying to ID ... the one on the right is a Sabal palmetto.


i've owned the property twelve years and the large patch of these has never gotten above eight feet or so. they did not freeze back and they grow along my seasonal pond edge.










Comments (10)

  • 6 years ago

    I have many of these on my property along a wild canal. Years ago I planted a Chinese Fan Palm I purchased in my front yard in the corner of a flower bed. I don't recall why I dug it up unless it grew too large and I disposed of it or so I thought. Now, I believe that's what's growing and providing wonderful privacy in my backyard. It looks too attractive to be a scrub palm so I am convinced mine is derived from that original Chinese Fan Palm. Does the name sound familiar to you? I'm no expert by any means but that was the name on the tag of my palm when I purchased it.

  • 6 years ago

    no, i'm not familiar with chinese fan palms. i googled it and the images of the leaves are more deeply dissected than the palms i have, they also grow to thirty feet, and the chinese fan palm is a Livistona not a Sabal. from what i know i'm more apt to think mine is a sabal than a livistona. the ones i have do make great privacy screens. seems like a chinese fan palm would stop providing privacy once it got to be a certain height.

  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    thanks carol ... i appreciate it.

  • 6 years ago

    You are very welcome. I understand completely.

    sharon's florida thanked Carol Pennington-York
  • 6 years ago

    It's the common variety of Sabal minor.

  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    as far as i'm concerned Sabal minor is not a variety, or subset, but a species of the genus Sabal.

    I've been in florida most of my life and have seen many, many, natural stands of dwarf palmettos, that were there for hundreds of years, and the palms/palmettos I am trying to ID do not look those. mine look like a cross between a dwarf palmetto (Sabal minor) and a cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto), which is why i think it is a variety called Sabal minor var. louisiana.

    I don’t believe they are dwarf palmettos and here are some reasons why.

    Sabal minor … dwarf palmetto … has a solitary subterranean stem (rarely above ground to 2 m) and 4–10 dark green leaves with a weak costa …. Leaf segments are only joined a short distance near the base and have no filamentous fibers… http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fr357

    The particular palms I am trying to ID have very prominent, above ground, stems/trunks … are NOT joined a short distance from the base and DO have filamentous fibers.

    dwarf palmetto (Sabal minor) … has a trunk that is either very short or below the ground. … There are usually no more than a half dozen leaves on a single plant. They differ from the leaves of other native dwarf palms by having a split 'V' right in the middle. … The usual size is 4 to 5 feet high and wide and the growth rate is slow. http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/landscape/trees/hgic1019.html

    The particular palms I am trying to ID have dozens of leaves on a single plant, do not have a split V in the middle, and are taller than 4 to 5 feet.

    S. minors’ trunks ‘rarely’ emerge, but are mostly subterranean … occasionally emerge, but grow along the ground. .. according to two texts I have sitting on my desk - trees, shrubs, and woody vines of northern florida and adjacent georgia and alabama, godfrey and wooten and the guide to the vascular plants of florida, wunderlin and hansen.

    the particular palms I am trying to ID grows too fast having trunks exposed too early in life.

    I don’t believe they are dwarf palmettos (Sabal minor).

  • 6 years ago

    My Sabal Louisianas are 12 feet tall with up to two feet of clear trunk and are only 12 years old in zone 7b. Ones in Savannah, GA are even bigger than mine. Your dwarf palmettos are blessed with good soil. That's why they hold so many leaves and grew a little larger in size.

  • PRO
    6 years ago

    Carol the Chinese Fan palm is Livistona chinensis. Sabal palms look very similar in most cases and are very difficult to differentiate when juvenile.

  • 6 years ago

    Thanks. Great information.