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

 Native Plant Database

Sabal minor

Dwarf palmetto, Bush palmetto, Palmetto

Arecaceae (Palm Family)

Sabal minor (Dwarf palmetto)
Cressler, Alan
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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38 photo(s) available

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: 2015-12-08