Sabal mexicana

Common name

Texas palmetto, Rio Grande palmetto

Description

Stems: Solitary, massive, upright stems to 15 m tall and to 35 cm diameter. Leaf bases fall away after many years to leave a rough brown stem with close rings. Leaves: Costapalmate, induplicate, with a prominent, arching costa, dark green, to 2 m wide. Leaf segments rigid, with numerous fibers along the segment margins, tips bifid. Petiole bases split. No spines or teeth. Flowers and fruits: Inflorescences about the same length as the leaves, arching, and branched to three orders. Inflorescences may appear before the stem reaches 1 m in height. Flowers creamy white, bisexual. Ripe fruit black, spherical to oblong, 15-19 mm diameter.

Diagnostic features

Solitary, upright palm with a prominent, arching costa, dark green leaf segments with numerous fibers along the segment margins. Petiole with split bases and no marginal spines or teeth. Fruit 15-19 mm in diameter.

May be confused with

Very similar to Sabal palmetto, but shorter, stouter, has a larger canopy and can produce flowers when the stem is less than 1 m tall

Distribution

Native to Texas, Mexico and Central America

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 mexicana Mart.

Family

Arecaceae/Palmae

Synonyms

Inodes exul O. F. Cook

Inodes mexicana (Martius) Standley

Inodes texana O. F. Cook

Sabal exul (O. F. Cook) L. H. Bailey

Sabal texana (O. F. Cook) Becc.

Last Updated May 2014

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