Cabbage Palmetto, Cabbage Palm, Swamp Cabbage, Sabal Palm are all the same name for Florida’s and South Carolina’s State Tree.
Each boot or slat that grows around the younger Cabbage Palm is a mini habitat. As the palm grows older the boots gradually drop off and the trunks become slick. I often stop and look at the palm pictured below because it is loaded with little stories.
The tree directly in front of the palm is actually fused to the trunk as it most likely grew from a seed that was dropped into the boot from a squirrel. The Laurel Oak is growing strong even though the main root system of the Oak is above ground.
Above the Laurel Oak is a Strangler Fig which is a pretty common site on a Cabbage Palm. Some landscape architects encourage the Strangler Fig to be a part of the native landscape. When the Strangler Fig matures it dwarfs the Cabbage and has intriguing twist and turns to its growth patterns. Eventually the Fig chokes out its gracious host and as nature plans it provides an even greater habitat for amphibians, birds, insects, reptiles and rodents.
On the bottom right of the Cabbage Palm a pine tree has taken up residence. Once a seed falling from a popping pine cone it nestled securely in the boot of the palm and is now about 4 1/2 feet tall.
Higher up in the canopy a Fern takes hold. This variety is called Phleobodium Aureum. Its common name is Golden Polypody.
Cabbage Palms are not commercially grown in large numbers. In most cases the trees are harvested from large cattle ranches and trucked to a landscape site. Most plantings are clustered with staggering heights, or planted in a linear fashion in medians. The advantages of the cabbage palm is that they transplant well, hold up in hurricanes, and are native.