Known variously as Sergeant's palm, datelet and dummy date, it is
slow-growing like the cabbage palmetto and almost all other native palms. It is
found only on Sand's key, Elliott's Key and Long Key as solitary specimens or
a few individuals together. The colony of several hundred trees on Long Key
where this palm was discovered in Florida some fifty years ago has been
destroyed by people who removed the trees and sold them for royal palms.
Another Florida variety consists of the thatch palms, or roof thatches, in
the hammocks and along sandy shores of the southern and of the peninsula and
the keys. First discovered in Florida at Cape Romano, the thatch palm is now
extinct there. It is occasionally found in coastal hammocks along the lower east
coast where migratory birds have carried the seeds north of its usual range.
Trunks of the thatch palms are frequently used where light piling is
needed. The leaves are gathered in great quantities, treated and made into
artificial house palms for northern latitudes. The brittle thatch is another
species of the same variety, growing in pineland hammocks and along sandy
shores of south Florida and the keys.
The silver and thatch palms are very similar. Both are found in the
extreme southern portion of the peninsula.
There are several varieties of the thatch palm, attaining a maximum
height of about 30 feet. The true thatch has a slender trunk like the silver palm
but the key thatch grows to 14 inches in diam-