On June 11, 1953, the Florida legislature designated the Sabal Palm (Sabal palmetto) as the state tree of Florida. The Sabal Palm—also known as cabbage palm, cabbage palmetto, palmetto, and countless vernacular terms throughout the southern United States and the Caribbean—has provided food, shelter and inspiration to Floridians for thousands of years.
Florida Seminoles and Miccosukees, like indigenous Floridians before them, construct traditional housing using leaves and trunks from the Sabal Palm. These structures, known as “chickees” in the Mikasuki language, are an important symbol of modern Florida Indian culture.
Swamp cabbage is a popular Florida dish made from the hearts of Sabal Palms. Swamp cabbage can be prepared and served in many ways, but it is usually fried, stewed or boiled for canning.
Landscape artists, from the Hudson River School’s Martin Johnson Heade to Albert Ernest “Bean” Backus and the Florida Highwaymen, have found inspiration in Florida’s state tree.
Thank you, Sabal Palm, for your service to the state of Florida!
Found a great Sabal Palm photo that we missed? Share it with us in the comments.