Cabbage palms & live oaks: Pasture Plants

Rancher Mike Sexton graciously hosted a group of us at Treasure Hammock Ranch on Sunday, 3-3-2019 and showed us around his favorite pasture, where he played as child, in the midst of cabbage palms (Sabal palmetto) and live oaks (Quercus virginiana).  Indian River County purchased a conservation easement on this historic ranch, and it will be an agricultural operation in perpetuity managed by the Sexton family.

Mike related that some of the large live oaks at Treasure Hammock toppled during the sister hurricanes of 2004 (Frances & Jeanne), just as they did at ORCA.

A cluster of cabbage palms, often referred to as a cabbage palm hammock, stood strong during the hurricanes, shown behind Mike as he spoke about the concrete structure re-purposed from the Tripson Dairy to provide water for the cows.

Many of the very tall cabbage palms have twisted in their efforts to reach sunlight, and the palm pictured below has found another way to reach for the sun by “sneeking” along the ground.

Cabbage palms are planted ornamentally at the historic cow pens …

Unpruned by human hands, they “self-prune” and maintain an attractive round shape.

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