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Scrub Palm

Q and A: I have heard that there are 12 Florida native palms, but only two that are endemic to Florida. What are the names of these two palms?

From T. Bates, by email
Answer

Although there are 12 palms native to Florida, only two have  been determined to be endemic to Florida. A plant native to Florida may also be native to other locations outside of Florida most often to the West Indies and Central and South America. For example, cabbage palm, Sabal palmetto, is the state “tree” of both Florida and South Carolina. A plant endemic to particular regions is only found in that region and nowhere else. Sabal etonia and S. miamiensis are the two palms that are endemic to Florida. Both species are closely related. S. etonia is the most common of the two endemic species and is commonly known as scrub palm. S. miamiensis, also known as the Miami palm, may already be extinct in the wild.

Scrub palm with burnt trunk


Scrub palm with burnt trunk. Photograph by Stephen H Brown UF/IFAS Lee County