What’s growing from my sabal palm thatches?

Sabal palm (Sabal palmetto) is native to Florida.  It is also the official Florida state tree.  This beautiful tree can be found growing in landscapes and natural areas throughout the state.  Oftentimes, other plants such as ferns and vines can be found growing from (or on) sabal palm tree thatches.  Here are a few I’ve seen on my treks through natural areas in southeastern Florida.  This is not an all-encompassing list.  More plants are likely to be listed as I discover them in Florida’s natural areas.  The plants below include both native and nonnative plants I have found growing from sabal palm tree thatches on my various nature excursions in Florida.

Plants growing from sabal palm thatch
Plants growing from sabal palms. Strangler fig and golden polypody fern. Photo credits: K. Gioeli

Strangler Fig (Ficus aurea)
ENH409/ST250: Ficus aurea: Strangler Fig (ufl.edu)

Golden Polypody Fern (Phlebodium aureum)





Shoestring Fern
Shoestring fern growing from sabal palm tree thatches. Photo Credits: K. Gioeli

Shoestring Fern (Vittaria lineata)
Vittaria lineata – Species Page – ISB: Atlas of Florida Plants (usf.edu)

Rosary Pea
Rosary Pea photo credits: K. Gioeli

Rosary Pea (Abrus precatorius)
Prohibited Plant





Virginia Creeper
Virginia Creeper Photo Credits: K. Gioeli

Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)






Poison Ivy
Poison Ivy Photo Credits: K. Gioeli

Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans)




Wild grape vine growing in sabal palm tree thatches.
Muscadine Grape Vine Photo Credits: K. Gioeli Muscadine Grape (Vitis rotundifolia)





Air Potato Vine
Air Potato Vine on Sabal Palm Photo Credits: W. Overholt

Air Potato Vine (Dioscorea bulbifera)
Dioscorea bulbifera – UF/IFAS Assessment – University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (ufl.edu)

Broschat, T.K. (2013). Sabal palmetto: sabal or cabbage palm. [UF/IFAS EDIS]. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/ST575

Florida Department of State. State Tree. Retrieved from https://dos.myflorida.com/florida-facts/florida-state-symbols/state-tree/

The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With offices in each of Florida’s 67 counties, UF/IFAS Extension works to bring science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents.

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Posted: July 7, 2021

Category: Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Home Landscapes, NATURAL RESOURCES
Tags: Invasive, Sabal Palm, Vine

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