Sabal etonia

Common name

scrub palmetto


Stems: Solitary, subterranean, rarely growing upright to 2 m tall. Leaves: Strongly costapalmate, induplicate, blade curved by costa, yellow green segments stiff and split almost to the base of the blade with fibers between segments, tips bifid; petiole unarmed. Flowers and fruits: Inflorescence densely branched to two orders, shorter than or about as long as the leaves. When ripe, fruits are spherical to ovoid, brown or black drupes, 9-13 mm long.

Diagnostic features

Field: Solitary, unarmed, usually subterranean palm with strongly costapalmate, yellow green leaves with marginal fibers. Inflorescence sparsely branched to two orders, shorter than or about as long as the leaves.

May be confused with

Sabal minor, but its leaves are gray-green and weakly costapalmate, without marginal fibers, and its inflorescence exceeds the leaves in length. In addition, Sabal etonia is a scrub plant while Sabal minor is found in swamps and wet areas.


Native to central and southeastern Florida scrublands

Additional comments

This genus is among the most common in and around the Caribbean region and among the few native to the continental United States.

Scientific name

Sabal etonia Swingle ex Nash




Sabal adansonii Guersent var. megacarpa Chapman

Sabal megacarpa (Chapm.) Small

Last Updated May 2014