Sabal mauritiiformis

Sabal mauritiiformis Inflorescence (Savannah Palm)

A very interesting flowering plant is blooming in the nursery this month.  That’s not to say you’ll want one for its beautiful flowers; like most palms, the flowers of Sabal mauritiiformis won’t attract oohs and aahs.  But here is what you’ll like about the palm:

Sabal mauritiiformis is probably the fastest-growing of the 20 or so species of Sabal.  Native from northern South America to southern Mexico, this palm produces fairly large, deeply-split circular leaves — reminiscent of those of Licuala — even before the trunk develops.  And the undersides of the leaves are mildly silvery.  Eventually this palm will reach 30-60 ft. tall, with a trunk about a foot in diameter.

Like the more common Sabals, S. mauritiiformis features a criss-cross pattern of old leaf bases on the trunk, but what is special about it is that the leaf bases remain green for a long time.  In the nursery, we are growing this palm in two sites.  In one place, we’re raising “twins,” and in the other location we have the single specimen shown in the photos above, and we look forward to many years of good looks and bountiful seed production.  The good news for those who want a plant right now is that we have available newly-potted seedlings of Sabal mauritiiformis obtained from an outside seed source.

This palm would make a striking addition to your collection, and it is cold-hardy into the upper 20s.  Versatile as well, it can be planted in full sun or partial shade.

Lenny Goldstein

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