A Tree Identification Booklet
for South Carolina Forests
"Carolina Palmetto" ,"Cabbage Palm"
Characteristics: The Cabbage palmetto is the South Carolina State Tree. It is a medium-sized evergreen palm with a stout, unbranched trunk and very large, fan-shaped leaves. At first the leaf bases cling to the trunk. Eventually it becomes smooth. In the spring the palmetto has fragrant tiny white flowers which droop in clusters about 2' long. The fruits are round and shiny-black. Each encloses a single chestnut-brown seed.
Location: The cabbage palmetto grows on sandy shores in crowded groves and inland in hammocks.
Use: The trunks are used for wharf pilings, docks, and poles. Brushes and whisk brooms are made from young leafstalk fibers and baskets and hats from the leaf blades.
FUN TREE FACT: In the old days, the trees were killed in order to eat the large leaf buds as a cabbage-like salad. Thus the name "cabbage palmetto".
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