The Central Florida Palm and Cycad Society met at Bok Tower Gardens on 12/12/2015, and Karen Schuster (Class of 2009), John Kennedy, Bob Montanaro (Class of 2005) & Janice Broda very much enjoyed the meeting. Click here to see the beautiful photographs that Bob posted on his blog.
Among the many palms on display at the Garden was bluestem palmetto (Sabal minor), the most ubiquitous palm in the United States. According to herbarium records kept by the University of South Florida, this palm is not found in Indian River County. Also commonly called dwarf palmetto, bush palmetto, and blue palm, this cold-hardy palm grows naturally in the southeast and south central United Sates, as well as northeastern Mexico.
Note the distinctive manner in which the petiole (leaf stem) meets up with the leaf.
The leaves of bluestem palmetto are costapalmate (curved) like the cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto), pictured below in a photograph taken by Karen Schuster.
Bluestem palmetto is low-growing (unlike cabbage palm trees), and its trunk rarely emerges from the ground. You easily can differentiate it from the saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), which has palmate (flattened) leaves, “saw” teeth along its petiole, and trunks that sometimes emerge from the ground as seen below at Bok Tower Gardens .