Sabal: palm tree features and care

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Sabal (Sabal) – a plant from the Palm family. It grows in warm areas of America (including the West Indies).

There are about 25 species in the genus. Some species are cultivated as ornamentals. In the collection of the National Botanical Garden. N. N. Grishko has five types of sabal.

The original form of this plant is the dwarf sabal palm , which is native to the coast of the southern states of the United States. The tree symbol of Florida, for example, is the Sabal palm. On sale most often offer species that reach no more than 2 m. These species are most often almost devoid of a trunk.

Characteristic features of areca sabal: leaves, flowers and fruits

Sabal palm has a large trunk, a lush crown, which is studded with fan leaves. At the base of the trunk is the so-called heel – a blunt thickening, from which adventitious roots extend. This is a characteristic feature of sabers. Some species are almost devoid of a trunk, and are crowned with basal leaves on long petioles. The rhizome is creeping, the leaves are fan-shaped, with sharp, serrated edges and sharp petioles.

The leaves are divided into segments almost to the base of the leaf blade. Leaf petioles are long. A characteristic feature is that the petiole of the leaf has a continuation in the leaf blade in the form of a rod.

The flowers of the areca sabal (“areca” is the “palm tree” from Arecáceae) are small, collected in a densely pubescent cob. Inflorescences reach from 1 to 2.5 m in length. The flowers are bisexual, whitish or green with a perianth with six petals and the same number of stamens, the ovary is three-celled, the style is triangular, with a capitate stigma.

Sabal fruits are small spherical one-seeded drupes that are dark brown in color, smooth, sometimes oily in appearance. They have a fleshy pericarp. Mature fruits, about the size of an olive and dark red to brown in color, are harvested and either dried or freshly processed into medicines.

Lesser sabal and other types of palm

In room conditions, the most popular:
Sabal small, or Adanson (S. minor);

Palm-shaped sabal (U. palmetto).

Sabal Blackburn – Sabal blackburniana. It is found in the coastal zone on sandy soils on the island of Haiti, in Santo Domingo.

The trunk is high, up to 18 m, free from remnants of leaves, smooth, whitish-gray. The leaves are fan-shaped, densely located at the top, 1.5–1.7 m long and 1.6–1.8 m wide, dissected into lobes up to half the length (with well-defined costapalmatism); shares are rigid, bluish-green; the midrib is prominent below. Inflorescence axillary, shorter than leaves.

Small Sabal – Sabal minor. It is used in pot culture for indoor gardening of rooms, halls, offices. The stem is short, buried in the ground, so that the plant seems almost stemless. The leaves are basal, fan-shaped, curved on long (up to 70 cm) petioles.

The leaf blade is bluish-green, rounded in general outline, dissected into segments (up to 40), up to 90 cm long in the middle part. Inflorescences (1–3) complex paniculate, branched in the upper part. The fruit is spherical, black, up to 1 cm in diameter.

The seed is spherical, brownish, slightly flattened, 0.8 cm in diameter. It grows slowly, during the growing season forms 3-5 leaves; their life expectancy is up to 3 years. On the Black Sea coast, it begins to bear fruit at the age of 7–8 years. Blossoms in late July – early August, fruits ripen in November.
Sabal Mauritius – Sabal mauritiaeformis. It grows in humid habitats in Colombia, Venezuela and the island of Trinidad.
Trunk up to 20 m tall, free from remnants of leaves, in rings. The leaves are fan-shaped, large, 1.5–3 m in diameter, dissected up to half the length into lobes, drooping, light green above, bluish below. The petiole is 1.5–2 m long, slightly protruding into the leaf blade. The inflorescence is formed in the upper part of the crown, axillary.

Sabal palmetto – Sabal palmetto. The trunk is straight, reaches a height of 6–24 m and a diameter of 60 cm, covered with long remaining remains of leaf petioles.

The leaves are long-petioled, the leaf blade is rounded-heart-shaped in general outline, folded-breaking in the middle and drooping downwards, with numerous two-cut segments. The widest, leafy, plate has a diameter of up to 140 cm, petiole up to 1.5 m, without spines; the upper part of the petiole at the point of attachment of the segments has a triangular tongue (on the upper side).

Propagated by seeds. The fruit is a black fleshy spherical drupe up to 1.8 cm in diameter. The seed is hemispherical, 0.8 cm high and 1.2 cm in diameter, dark brown. Inflorescences complex paniculate, up to 2 m long; there are 3–4 of them. Blossoms in July, fruits ripen in November-December. It starts flowering and fruiting at the age of 10-12.
The growth rate is moderate. The palm tree is very frost-resistant – adult specimens on the Black Sea coast endure frosts down to -11 ° C without damage.

The palm is decorative with its large, originally folded fan leaves. Spectacular in group planting on the lawn, along the banks of reservoirs, in alley and ordinary street plantings, as well as tapeworms in the center of large flower beds. Due to its frost resistance and decorative qualities, it deserves wider distribution. Being moisture-loving, the palm tree is suitable only for the Black Sea coast and the southern regions, it prefers damp sandy soils; grows in semi-shady places.

Young leaves that have not yet opened are used as vegetables in their homeland ( “palm cabbage” ). The wood is light but strong and resistant to decay.
Also introduced into the culture is a large sabal.

Sabal Palm Care

Throughout the year, the palm tree is kept in a bright room. Not afraid of the sun. In summer, it is recommended to take it out into the air. In winter, the room should be below 16 ° C, although the palm tree tolerates higher temperatures. Humidity is room. It is necessary to wash the leaves with water once a month.
The ideal soil mixture consists of leafy soil, sod, humus, high and low peat, river sand (1: 1: 1: 1: 1). Ready-made soil mixtures often also include expanded clay gravel, sand, lime and complex fertilizer, soil pH 5–6. Requires a wide pot.
When caring for this palm tree in summer, abundant watering is needed; in hot weather, the “heels” of the plants are covered with moss. In winter, watering is insignificant, but the soil ball should not dry out. During the growing season, from April to September, the plant is fed with palm fertilizer. Top dressing is done with a special fertilizer for palm trees every 2-4 weeks, even once a month is allowed, but not less often, otherwise the soil is depleted and the palm tree will start to hurt.
Sabal small to the soil is unpretentious, grows on sandy and calcareous soil, but is very picky about moisture. Withstands frosts down to -10–11 °C without damage. In the harsh winter of 1949-1950, on the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus, the crowns were frozen (by 2/3 or completely), but then almost all plants recovered. Severe damage to this palm tree is caused by wind and snow breaking off the leaves.

Propagation of sabal and arenga palms by seeds

Sabal palms, like arenga palms, reproduce by seeds that germinate relatively quickly. Sabal seeds are prepared for planting as follows: they are soaked for a day in a stimulant solution (you can use silk, epin, humate + 7) with a temperature of about 30 ° C. Then they are sown in the soil (usually light mixtures for palm trees are used). Sowing is done in plastic containers (disposable cups are also suitable). After that, they need to be put in a warm (about 30 ° C) place. Seeds germinate from a week to two months. On average 50-70 days.
Seeds stored for a long time may germinate in 6–12 months, and sometimes in 1–2 years. When planting seedlings, seeds should not be torn off, as they supply the plant with nutrients for a long time. Germinated seeds are selected and planted one at a time in 7-centimeter pots, half filled with earth. As soon as the root sprout forms 3-4 branches at the bottom of the pot, the palms are transplanted into the same pot, but already filled to the top with earth.

Possible problems

Red spider mite, mealybug; root rot from waterlogging, browning of foliage from dry air.

The use of the sabal palm

Sabal in open ground is grown only in the southern regions. The palm is suitable for tapeworms and groups on the lawn, in damp places protected from the wind, as well as in the edge of groups of tall fan palms. Since the small sabal tolerates partial shade well, it is suitable as an original undergrowth of not too dense plantations of subtropical evergreen deciduous and coniferous species. If you do not live on the Black Sea coast, then your sabal can be taken out into the fresh air during the warm season in tubs and pots.
Fruits contain biologically active substances: phytosterols, sitosterol, fatty acids, etc. Along with them, there are essential oils, carotene, flavonoids, enzymes, tannins, sugars.
In medicine, fruits or seeds are not directly used, but herbal preparations (extracts from fruits) are very often used to treat diseases of the bladder and prostate gland. Biological action: pronounced anti-inflammatory, as well as increasing potency and libido, diuretic, antiseptic, etc.
Sabal wood is used to build underwater structures.

The photos below will help you appreciate the beauty and variety of forms of sabal palms.

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