| Sabal (SAH-bahl) |
Gainsville, FL. 9/2015. Photo by Frank Glavin.
Habitat and DistributionSabal miamiensis was first described by botanist Scott Zona of Fairchild Tropical Gardens some years ago. This palm is essentially extinct in habitat, which was the coastal plain areas of South Broward and Dade counties in Southeast Florida.
This species is restricted to the oölitic limestone of the pine rocklands of Dade County (S. Zona 1985). The natural habitat of Sabal miamiensis has been urbanized, so this species is likely extinct. Despite differences in habitat, this species may not be distinct from S. etonia. (efloras.org - Zona, S. 1985. A new species of Sabal (Palmae) from Florida. Brittonia 37: 366--368.)
Stems subterranean. Leaves 3--6, yellow-green, strongly costapalmate; hastula narrowly triangular, 2.4--7.7 cm; segments filiferous, 50--85 ´ 2.8--3.0 cm; apices bifid2-cleft. Inflorescences paniculate, loosely branched with 3 orders of branching (not counting main inflorescence axis), horizontal-arching, about as long as leaves. Flowers 5--5.5 mm. Fruits black, shiny, oblate-spheroid, length 14.3--16.9 mm, diam. 15.7--19 mm; pericarp thick, fleshy. Seeds 6.2--6.7 mm, diam. 10.2--11 mm diam. (efloras.org - Zona, S. 1985. A new species of Sabal (Palmae) from Florida. Brittonia 37: 366--368.)
Understory palm with an underground stem. Leaves 3-6, evenly green, strongly costapalmate, filiferous or not; petiole 1.5-3.0 cm wide and 0.4-0.6 m long; hastula aclute,2.4-7.7 cm long, glabrous, margin flat or erect, entire; segments 35-70 per leaf, connate for ca. 2Oo/of their length, middle segment ca. 85 cm long, 2.8-3.0 cm wide, 0.2-0.3 mm thick, transverse commissures short and conspicuous, apex bifurcate for 21-38 cm. Inflorescence arcuate with 3 orders of branching, equal to or exceeding the leaves in length, sheathing bracts lepidote, rachillae l8-20 per branchlet, ca. 1.0 mm in diameter, l4-15 cm long, with ca. (3-)5(-7) flowers per cm. Flower 5.0-5.5 mm long, calyx urceolate-cupulate, strongly costate when dry, 1.6-2.0 mm long, I.5-2.0 mm wide, sinuses ca. 0.5 mm deep; petals obovate, noncostate when dry, membranous,3.T-4.7 mm long, 1.7-2.0 mm wide; stamens spreading, filaments 4.0-5.0 mm long, adnate to the corolla for 1.0-1.4 mm, anthers ca. 1.6 mm long and 0.7 mm wide; gynoecium 3.2-3.7 mm long, ovary 0.7-1,2 mm high, 0.8-1.1 mm in diameter. Fruit oblate, black, with a very thick pericarp, 15.7-19.0 mm in diameter, 14.3-16.9 mm high; seed oblate concave, 10.2-11.0 mm in diameter,6.2-6.7 mm high; embryo supraequatoria. (virtualherbarium.org - Dr. Scott Zona.) Editing by edric.
The taxonomic history of this species has been given elsewhere (Zona 1983, 1985). The presence of both dwarfed S. palmetto and S. etoniain south Florida undoubtedly has led to some confusion which in turn has contributed to the debate concerning the validity of this taxon. Undoubtedly, S. miamiensis is more closely related to S. etonia than was previously believed (Zona 1985). Anatomically, S. miamiensrs shares many features with S. etonia; although, S. etonia has more adaptations to arid environments. The morphological characteristics given previously (Zona 1985) are still useful in distinguishing the species, i.e., lax arching inflorescence with three orders of branching and large fruits and seeds. The fruits of S. miamienszsare 15.7-19.0 (16.9 + 1.1) mm in diameter, versus 9.0-15.4 (12.9 + 1.9) mm in S. etonia. Habitat differences are critical. (virtualherbarium.org - Dr. Scott Zona.)
Sabal miamiensis requires the same conditions as other Sabals: sun, heat, humidity and water. I don't think anyone knows how coldhardy it is, as it only grew in southern FL. But it is trunkless - like minor and most etonia. I would conservatively rate it hardy as palmetto and etonia, i.e., down to -10C but not as hardy as minor. My little etonia had an erect inflorescence as did my S. minor. My S. miamiensis has inflorescences that droop low and do not stand up. Germinate seeds in deep pots (10+ cm tall). (Cape Coral, FL. Margaret Price) Cold Hardiness Zone: 9a
Comments and Curiosities
S. miamiensis has bigger seeds - the largest of any FL Sabal.
Flowering spring--summer. Rocky calcareous soil of Miami pinelands; of conservation concern; 0--10 m; Fla. (efloras.org - Zona, S. 1985. A new species of Sabal (Palmae) from Florida. Brittonia 37: 366--368.)
This species is endemic to the Miami Pinelands of southern Florida, near sea level, on outcroppings of oolitic limestone known as the Everglades Keys. Sabal miamiensis occurs with Byrsonima lucida (Turcz.) P. Wilson, Guettarda scabra Vent., Metopium toxiferum (L.) Krug & IJrban, Pinus elliotlii Engelm. var. densa Little & Dorman, Quercus geminata Small, Serenoa repens (Bartram) Small, Tetrazygia bicolor (MilI.) Cogn., and Zamia pumila L., among others (Harper 1927). (virtualherbarium.org - Dr. Scott Zona.)
Herbarium records are scant, but collections with flowers are known from throughout the year. The species was proposed for listing as an Endangered Species by the U.S. federal government; however, the proposal was withdrawn owing to disagreement concerning the validity of the taxon. Federal protection, however, would be in name only, as the species is likely already extinct. Its habitat in Dade County has been urbanized and utterly destroyed. Sabal etonia has often been confused with S. miamiensri but the former grows on white sand, not oolite. The above description of flowers is based on only two specimens and probably does not fully account for all the variation in this species. (virtualherbarium.org - Dr. Scott Zona.)
Sabal miamiensis Zona Miami palmetto (rare or extinct) is a solitary palm with an underground stem and 3–6 strongly costapalmate leaves, said to curve to a near circle. Filamentous fibers between leaf segments may or may not be present. The inflorescence is branched 3 times (distinguishing it from S. etonia, which is branched twice) with rather large fruit 1.5 to 2 cm in diameter. This palm is only found in the Miami-Dade rock pinelands of southeast Florida on shallow calcareous soils and limestone outcroppings. Because of the intensive urban development of that region, some authors believe this species to be nearly extinct. (edis.ifas.ufl.edu)
Sabal miamiensis Zona Miami Palmetto, Arecaceae, Palm trees Spring-Summer-Blooms, IV-VIII, up to 150 cm high, evergreen, perennial. Sabal miamiensis is endemic in Florida and originates from Southeast Florida, Dade County. In the wild, the populations were probably extinguished as the sites were urbanized by the city of Miami. The plants have an underground stem, 3-6 yellow-green leaves, distinctly costapalmat, with numerous filaments and a narrow, elongated triangular Hastula (continuation at the base of the leaf blade). The inflorescence is rispy, is located within the leaf-crown (intrafoliar), is horizontally arched and branched to the third order. The flowers are white, up to 5.5 mm. The fruits are black, spherical, Up to 19 mm in diameter with round, brown seeds, 10-11 mm large. Sabal miamiensis is similar to S. etonia Swingle ex Nash. And is seen by some authors as these. Sabal miamiensis has a longer hasula and slightly larger seeds (6-11 mm versus 10-11 mm) than S. etonia . In contrast to S. etonia , the former sites of S. miamiensis were not found in the undergrowth of Pinus clausa (Chap. Ex Engelm.) Sarg., But P. elliottii Engelm. Moreover, the variability of S. etonia makes it very difficult to distinguish S. miamiensis from the latter. Most obvious that significantly more pronounced costopalmate lamina is at S. miamiensis , which leads to both lamina touching "halves" with the top on a larger surface and form so-called "praying hands", a feature which in so etonia S. only Is rarely observed. In addition, the fact that there are dwarf growing specimens of Sabal palmetto (Walter) Lodd. Ex school & Schult. F. In Miami Dade, which grow in small earth pockets between rocks. These specimens bloom and grow in contrast to the species without the formation of a tribe. Since the lamina of S. palmetto and S. etonia is clearly costapalmat, The two species are then only distinguishable with their flower or fruit level. The same is true for S. miamiensis , which also flourishes and grows without a tribe. Although there are no known natural sites from Sabal miamiensis , several plants still exist in culture, one of which is publicly available at the Harry P. Leu Garden in Orlando. Apart from that, there are still specimens in private gardens. Other Sabal types. Leu Garden in Orlando is publicly available. Apart from that, there are still specimens in private gardens. Other Sabal types. Leu Garden in Orlando is publicly available. Apart from that, there are still specimens in private gardens. (tropengarten.de - Dr. Scott Zona.)
There is lively debate now on whether this Sabal should retain its status as one of four native FL palms. Some experts say yes, others no. Kew removed its species status a few years ago. I respectfully disagree with Kew and other naysayers - I am in the yea camp. I've heard claims S.m. is really Sabal palmetto or a hybrid between palmetto and ?????. But my palm started flowering while trunkless, which S. palmetto never does. In addition, miamiensis seeds are twice as large as palmetto's and are the largest of the FL Sabals, including Sabal minor (which is considered the most "primitive" Sabal and is native to North FL and other southeastern states). Other people claim miamiensis should be lumped with Sabal etonia (another trunkless species). But S.e. grows in north central FL, 100s of miles from the limestone outcrops that once welcomed S.m. I had two Sabal etonias germinate in 2008: one languished until it died, the other survives as a struggling dwarf palm. I believe this species can't take my alkaline, calcareous sandy soil nor the coral rock in far southeast FL. My little S.e. finally fruited this year and put out about two dozen seeds. Its green leaves are much flatter than my Sabal miamiensis, whose bluish fronds curve so far backward that they look like praying hands to some observers. Anyone who has seen my palm says it is not palmetto, etonia or even minor. (Cape Coral, FL. Margaret Price)
Only DNA testing of FL Sabals may decide the controversy: is Sabal miamiensis a separate species, a hybrid (although Sabals rarely hybridize) or synonymous with palmetto, etonia or even minor? Still, that is beside the point. Sabal minor exists in many forms in the SE USA. Lovers of Sabals and other coldhardy palms want to have examples of each: McCurtain, Louisiana, Emerald Island Giant, Arkansas, Blountstown Dwarf and Wakulla Dwarf for just a few. If even one form went extinct, collectors would mourn. Whatever Sabal miamiensis turns out to be, the truth is that it once existed on some limestone outcrops in SFL but is now extinct in the wild. Back in 2008 I was giddy when I was given one tiny seedling from a knowledgeable palm friend and the opportunity to preserve this lovely palm. (Cape Coral, FL. Margaret Price)
See my video below in External links
This is a tillering palm, it exhibits saxophone style root growth (it has a heel), keep top third of heel above soil elevation!
- Glossary of Palm Terms
- MODERN BOTANICAL LATIN
- "Just To Be Clear"
- THE SAXOPHONE STYLE ROOT GROWTH (HEEL)
- edric's video Oak Hill FL 5/25/2014
- Sabal miamiensis Top #6 Facts
Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.
Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.
Special thanks to Palmweb.org, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos.
Glossary of Palm Terms; Based on the glossary in Dransfield, J., N.W. Uhl, C.B. Asmussen-Lange, W.J. Baker, M.M. Harley & C.E. Lewis. 2008. Genera Palmarum - Evolution and Classification of the Palms. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. All images copyright of the artists and photographers (see images for credits).
virtualherbarium.org - Dr. Scott Zona.
efloras.org - Zona, S. 1985. A new species of Sabal (Palmae) from Florida. Brittonia 37: 366--368.
Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.