Scrub palmetto (Sabal etonia), shown above flourishing in the frequently burned scrub at Archbold Biological Station along with rusty staggerbush (Lyonia ferruginea), is a Florida endemic. It does not seem to be present at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area.
Scrub palmetto, pictured above, has coastapalmate fronds and an unarmed petiole (leafstem) like the related (same genus) cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto), pictured below. Scrub palmetto, unlike the cabbage palm, is adorned with sensational swirls of fibers between its segments.
Scrub palmetto grows in the well-drained, sandy soils of scrub and scrubby pine flatwoods, as does saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), pictured below, which has a ‘flat’ palmate frond and an armor of tiny ‘saw teeth’ along its petiole.
Be on the lookout for scrub palmetto as you visit natural areas throughout the state –except for southwest Florida and the panhandle.
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