Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Sabal minor

Dwarf palmetto, Palmetto, Bush palmetto

Arecaceae (Palm Family)

Sabal minor (Dwarf palmetto)
Loughmiller, Campbell and Lynn
This common, fan-shaped palm is a small shrub, 5-10 ft. tall, occasionally reaching tree size in Texas. Usually stemless, the leaves arising from an underground stock. Leaf blades longer than the leaf stalks, fan shaped, as much as 4 feet wide, dissected, the narrow segments notched at the tip. White blooms are followed by black fruit about 1/2 inch wide in long clusters. Plant forms a trunk when grown in standing water.

There are more than 2,500 plants in the palm family worldwide, but only about a dozen are native to the United States.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Size Notes: 5-8 feet tall.
Leaf: Gray-Green
Fruit: Blue
Size Class: 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: May , Jun


USA: AL , AR , FL , GA , LA , MS , NC , OK , SC , TX
Native Distribution: North Carolina south to Florida, west to Arkansas and central Texas, south to Nuevo Leon in northeastern Mexico
Native Habitat: Lowlands; swamps; river terraces; floodplains

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Moist soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay
Conditions Comments: Palmetto lends interest and variety to a damp, shaded place. Provide it with plenty of water during establishment; afterwards palmetto is quite hardy through droughts although the tips of the leaves may turn brown. Dwarf palmetto is a good accent plant for moist areas and will tolerate poor drainage. It is the most cold-tolerant Sabal.


Use Ornamental: Accent tree or shrub, Winter-hardy
Use Wildlife: Cover, Fruit-birds, Fruit-mammals, Nectar-insects, Nesting site
Interesting Foliage: yes
Deer Resistant: Moderate

Last Update: 2013-09-08