Erythea loretensis M.E.Jones
Inodes exul O.F.Cook
Inodes mexicana (Mart.) Standl.
Inodes texana O.F.Cook
Sabal exul (O.F.Cook) L.H.Bailey
Sabal guatemalensis Becc.
Sabal texana (O.F.Cook) Becc.
Common Name: Mexican Palmetto
Mexican palmetto is a solitary-stemmed, evergreen palm tree. Younger plants can be quite large but do not develop a stem. The unbranched stem develops only in older specimens and can reach a height of 10 - 12 metres, terminating in a crown of large and handsome leaves[
]. The plant can commence fruiting before the trunk develops[
The plant is a valuable source of leaf material, much used by local people for thatching[
]. The leaves are sold commercially[
]. The tree is often planted for ornament in the tropics, and sometimes probably for its leaves, which are used as thatch etc[
Central America - Nicaragua to Mexico and north to Texas in N. America.
Mesic hammocks, floodplains, levees, river banks and swamps from sea level to 50 metres[
]. Rich soil of the bottom lands near the coast[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Ornamental, Wild
Plants succeed in moist tropical climates where temperatures never fall below 10°c, the average annual rainfall is 1,500mm or more and the driest month has 25mm or more rain[
]. It can also grow in the drier tropics with rainfall below 1,000mm[
]. They can also succeed in drier areas with an annual rainfall as low as 250mm and one month or more where rainfall is below 25mm[
Succeeds in most fertile moist but well-drained soils in a sheltered sunny position[
]. Although it prefers a humid atmosphere, this species is tolerant of arid atmospheres so long as it has plenty of moisture available at the roots[
]. Plants grow well in full sun, even when small[
]. Plants can tolerate at least some maritime exposure with salt spray and somewhat saline soil conditions[
Palms usually have deep penetrating root systems and generally establish best when planted out at a young stage. However, older plants are substantially more cold tolerant than juvenile plants[
]. In areas at the limit of their cold tolerance, therefore, it is prudent to grow the plants in containers for some years, giving them winter protection, and only planting them into their permanent positions when sheer size dictates[
]. This species can also be transplanted even when very large. Although the thick fleshy roots are easily damaged and/or desiccated, new roots are generally freely produced. It is important to stake the plant very firmly to prevent rock, and also to give it plenty of water until re-established - removing many of the leaves can also help[
A very variable plant in the wild[
]. The globose fruit is a small dry berry up to 25mm in diameter, with a thin sweet flesh[
The apical bud is dried and then pounded into a meal[
]. Eating this bud effectively leads to the death of the tree since it is unable to make side branches[
The leaves are used for a wide range of purposes, including making baskets, hats, chair seats, partition walls and thatch[
The stems are used as fence posts[
The following reports are for Sabal palmetto. They quite probably also apply to this species[
An excellent fibre is obtained from the leaf stalks[
]. The best quality is from young leaf stalks still in the bud, whilst coarser material is obtained from older leaves or the bases of old leaf stalks surrounding the bud[
]. The fibres are up to 50cm long, they are harvested commercially and used to make brushes, especially where these have to remain stiff in hot water or caustics[
The roots contain tannin[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a warm greenhouse at not less than 24°c[
]. Stored seed is very slow to germinate. Pre-soaking the seed for 24 hours in warm water prior to sowing may shorten the germination time. Plants form a long tap-root some time before forming a shoot. Germination of fresh seed usually takes place in 3 - 4 months at 25°c[
]. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first two winters. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Consider giving them some protection from the cold for at least their first winter outdoors.
If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.