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The 1953 Legislature designated the sabal palm, (Arecaceae Sabal palmetto,) as the Florida State Tree. This palm is the most widely distributed in the state and possesses a majesty that sets it apart from other trees. It grows in almost any soil and has many uses including food and medicine. It is also used widely for landscaping because of its universal popularity. In addition, the 1970 Florida Legislature mandated that the sabal palm should replace the cocoa palm on the Florida State Seal.
Cabbage palmetto, (Sabal palmetto,) is the most northerly and abundant of the native tree palms. Other names sometimes used are Carolina palmetto, common palmetto, palmetto, and cabbage-palm. This medium-sized unbranched evergreen palm commonly grows on sandy shores, along brackish marshes, in seacoast woodlands of Southeastern United States and throughout peninsular Florida. It can tolerate a broad range of soil conditions and is often planted as a street tree. Abundant fruit crops provide a good supply of food to many kinds of wildlife.
The law designating the sabal palmetto palm as the official Florida state tree is found in the Florida Statutes, Title 4, Chapter 15, Section 15.03.
TITLE IV - EXECUTIVE BRANCH Ch.14-24.
CHAPTER 15 - SECRETARY OF STATE.
15.031 State tree.--
(1) The sabal palmetto palm, which is also known as the cabbage palm, and sometimes as the cabbage palmetto, a tree native to Florida, is hereby designated as the Florida state tree.
(2) Said state tree being now extensively used for commercial purposes, the provisions of this section shall not be construed to limit in any manner said use thereof in business, industry, commerce, for food, or for any other commercial purposes.
History.--ss. 1, 2, ch. 28126, 1953.
Taxonomic Hierarchy: Sabal Palmetto Palm
Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Liliopsida - Monocotyledons
Family: Arecaceae ⁄ Palmae - Palm family
Genus: Sabal Adans. - palmetto
Species: Sabal palmetto (Walter) Lodd. ex Schult. & Schult. f. - cabbage palmetto