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Dwarf Palmetto (Western Arkansas Ecotype)
Dwarf Palmetto (Western Arkansas Ecotype)

Dwarf Palmetto (Western Arkansas Ecotype)

Regular price $5.00 Sale

Sabal minor

Origin: Western Arkansas

Improvement status: Wild

Seeds per packet: ~10

BOTANICAL SAMPLE - NOT GERMINATION TESTED

Life cycle: Perennial 

Native to the US Southeast from Texas to southern Virginia, dwarf palmetto can bring a touch of the tropics to regions far afield from any coconuts or mangos. This strain comes from Western Arkansas. Our seeds come from our friend Joe Kiefer of Triple Oaks Nursery in Franklinville, New Jersey.

This species is more than just a beautiful statement piece for your front yard: it's an edible perennial with a long history of use as food, medicine, construction material, and fiber. The thin fruit surrounding the large seed is edible and slightly sweet, raw or cooked (it's considered an "acquired taste" however, due to some strong flavors that are hard to put your finger on). The young leaves can be eaten raw or cooked, and the large fleshy leaf buds are cooked as a vegetable too. Fresh root slices have apparently been "baked and eaten as bread," though we haven't tried this. A decoction of dried root is said to be a treatment for high blood pressure and kidney problems, while the fresh juice has been rubbed into sore eyes as a counterirritant (according to Plants for a Future). The dried leaves can be used for roof thatching, or woven to make baskets or mats (or, in a pinch, a hat).

This plant is surprisingly easy to grow from seed, and it's fun to watch it develop into a large specimen in just a few years. Enjoy!

NOTE: Photo shows the Oklahoma ecotype, but it looks pretty much the same as this one!