Palmetto palm (Sabal palmetto)
The palmetto palm (also known as cabbage palm, palmetto, cabbage palmetto, palmetto palm, blue palmetto, Carolina palmetto, common palmetto, swamp cabbage and sabal palm) is a tall, unbranched tree with persistent rounded fan leaf bases on most of the trunk. The Palmetto Palm may grow up to 90 feet in height. The leaves are fanned and are large and simple with each leaf being about 5-7 feet long and arched backward. Its small fruits are dark blue or black, and shiny with a hard seed. The flowers of the Palmetto are yellowish-white and extend outward on long spikes and often hang below, the leaves.
Where to Find: The palmetto palm is extremely salt tolerant and may be found throughout the coastal regions of the southeastern United States, in Cuba, and the Bahamas.
Edible Parts: Sabal palm’s fruit, leaves (rarely eaten), and stems are edible. The fruits, which really amounts to a thin skin coating on the seeds, are edible raw. The hard seeds that are located inside the fruit may be ground into flour (often the fruit and seed are ground up together).
The heart of the palm (the very inner core) is a nutritious food source at any time. Cut off the top of the tree to obtain the palm heart (the palm tree die when the heart is removed). Cut off the top three feet of the tree below where the fronds (leaves) are growing. Pull off or cut away the leaf stems to reach the inner core. The core is cylindrical, white, and consists of leek-like layers of undeveloped leaves.