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PalmatierMeg

Does Sabal miamiensis = Sabal palmetto? Does it matter?

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PalmatierMeg

A few minutes ago I posted this reply in the Sale subforum:

One thought has occurred to me regarding this palm. Its importance is not whether the clumpers or splitters are correct. Maybe DNA analysis will settle the squabble. Even if this species/cultivar turns out to be S. palmetto the fact remains that it was a distinct palm clinging to a small area in Broward & Dade counties. No one recognized its uniqueness and its habitat was destroyed, leaving only a few specimens in botanical gardens and private collections. For that reason alone it should be conserved.

Consider that Sabal minor has many cultivars: Louisiana, Blountstown Dwarf, McCurtain County, Emerald Island Giant, et. al. All are still S. minor but are collected and treasured by enthusiasts. If even one were to be lost, Sabal lovers would mourn. So, even if this palm is shown to be S. palmetto, it might be a now-extinct-in-the-wild cultivar: Sabal palmetto Miami and worthy of the respect shown S. minor cultivars.

When I compare seeds of this palm to those of Sabal palmetto Lisa, miamiensis seeds are 2-3 times as large. I recently read in Palmpedia that miamiensis has the largest seeds of any Sabal. What does that mean? Sabal minor has large seeds and is considered the most primitive Sabal (also the most diverse). So, could S. miamiensis  be a more primitive palm that gave rise to S. palmetto? And the small population of miamiensis that was destroyed a relict population of Sabal, just as Rhapidophyllum hystrix is a relict palm? I don't know. But I believe we need to dismiss the notion of it being "just another Sabal palmetto" with a snort of disappointment and disgust.

I'm not attempting redundant posts but I thought the quote above is a good launchpad for a discussion. I still believe miamiensis is its own distinct species but even if it originated as S. palmetto (or vice versa) it still has worth. The issue isn't an "either or" proposition and we should maybe rethink how we view it. Responses? Let's discuss.

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Mandrew968

Meg, you make a great point; your allusion to the different minor variations is a compelling argument. Along a similar line is Ptychosperma elegans--even in the latest encyclopedia, there is mention of two distinct forms(the robust one I find interesting, everytime I see it). 

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Brad Mondel

Confusion in the Sabal genus is nothing new. A good example is the Sabal brazoriensis hybrid. This palm was thought to be a variety of Sabal minor  until a genetic test revealed it was In fact a hybrid between S.palmetto and S.minor. At the same time Sabal minor 'louisiana' also looks like a hybrid but it's not.  There are a few "varieties" of Sabal palmetto, such as riverside and birmingham, these are most likely hybrids but we won't know for sure until they do a genetic analysis. 

Although a plant can appear to be a new species, morphology wouldn't seem to be enough to confirm that it is because Sabals can be variable. I've collected Sabal minor seeds that were large and some were small, the fronds can be quite different as well based on genetic expression or environmental factors. 

We wont know for certain if miamiensis is a species or a variety until a genetic study is done. Hopefully one day they will test miamiensis, birmingham, and riverside so this will be settled. 

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Zeeth

Sabal miamiensis is closely related to S. etonia, but is distinct in being branched to 3 orders rather than 2 (though Alberto has shown a picture of his S. etonia branching to 3 orders, that is not the norm and is probably an effect of growing in an environment very different from Florida), and having seeds 1.5-2 cm in diameter, compared to 1-1.5 cm.

The name is currently accepted by a few places, as suggested here: http://www.tropicos.org/Name/2401095?tab=references

As of 2005, it was not accepted by Kew: http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/namedetail.do;jsessionid=61CF045DF0A27466BD990F604E2BE862?name_id=181046 

However, this year (2015), a phylogenetic analysis was done on the genus. Here is a figure from their results: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/store/10.1111/bij.12551/asset/image_n/bij12551-fig-0003.png?v=1&t=ii93k64d&s=767fe970afe4f57bed35f3793b9012e133afc959

Here's the caption that goes along with the figures:

"Figure 3. A, STAR and MP-EST trees share largely identical topologies but differ in support. The first support values are from MP-EST and the second from STAR (if only one value, both estimation methods had the same support); B, *BEAST phylogram with posterior probabilities – nodes with posterior probability < 50 were collapsed; C, concatenated dataset maximum-likelihood tree estimate."

We may see it be resurrected as a species because of this. I'm attaching a copy of the paper that in case anyone wants to read it.

 

The tricky part here is that there were some growers who purchased palms labelled as S. miamiensis that turned out to be S. palmetto. It seems a little silly to assume that the species doesn't exist if you happen to get a plant that turned out to be something else. S. miamiensis is distinct from S. palmetto in that it has an underground stem, larger seeds, and a more strongly curved costa. It can be fairly argued that S. miamiensis is a synonym of S. etonia, but I am very confident in saying that it is not a synonym of S. palmetto. Years ago, Christian Faulkner took me to see the S. miamiensis that many people have gotten their seeds from, and it is definitely not S. palmetto. The seeds were too big, the costa was too strongly curved, and most importantly, it was flowering and setting seed while trunkless. These are all characteristics of a palm that isn't S. palmetto. I also saw a palm that was sold as S. miamiensis that was definitely a S. palmetto. That doesn't mean the species isn't valid. That particular palm just turned out to be something that it wasn't sold as.

bij12551.pdf

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PalmatierMeg

Andrew, I just ordered seeds of the Robust Ptychosperma elegans. Can't wait to compare with my "normal" ones.

Zeeth, I see S. etonia rearing its head again. A post in my sale topic said that perhaps S.m. was closer to S.p. I respect your point of view as well as the other poster's, but am more confused than ever. I believe my palm came from seeds Christian Faulkner collected from the palm you mention and it has all the characteristics you describe that differentiate it from S. palmetto, i.e., it's the real deal. I am lucky to have it. The leaves are so extremely costapalmate that they resemble the "praying hands" mentioned in some material I've read. My palm has flowered since 2013 and set seeds twice, which is a pretty good track record for an 8-yr-old Sabal. My ultimate point is that this plant is unique and worthy of preservation whatever it's called.

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Moose

I attending a South Florida Palm Society meeting several years ago when Dr. Larry Noblick was the guest speaker. His presentation was a on the genus Sabal. My memory is not as good as it used to be, but I do recall that from Dr. Noblick mentioned that from the original description of Sabal miamiensis, it closely resembles S. etonia. Besides the three order ranking, it also had the largest of any of the Sabal species. It definitely is not a form of S. palmetto.

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TexasColdHardyPalms

I dont know if this is positively contributing to this thread but Sabal mexicana,  rosei and riverside have much larger seeds than the miamesis seeds that I received from Meg; with some mexicana being almost twice as large.  I've harvested hundreds of s. mexicana seeds that were as big as a dime.

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PalmatierMeg
2 hours ago, TexasColdHardyPalms said:

I dont know if this is positively contributing to this thread but Sabal mexicana,  rosei and riverside have much larger seeds than the miamesis seeds that I received from Meg; with some mexicana being almost twice as large.  I've harvested hundreds of s. mexicana seeds that were as big as a dime.

All points of view welcome. I read that fact in Palmpedia so it was no original idea of mine. Would you mind posting a photo comparing all of these species? I have no experience with rosei or Riverside. Some years ago I was given a seedling of Sabal guatemalensis which grows slowly in my garden. A few years later I read that S.g. is actually Sabal Mexicana. So there is also controversy there too.

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Zeeth
17 hours ago, Zeeth said:

Sabal miamiensis is closely related to S. etonia, but is distinct in being branched to 3 orders rather than 2 (though Alberto has shown a picture of his S. etonia branching to 3 orders, that is not the norm and is probably an effect of growing in an environment very different from Florida), and having seeds 1.5-2 cm in diameter, compared to 1-1.5 cm.

The name is currently accepted by a few places, as suggested here: http://www.tropicos.org/Name/2401095?tab=references

As of 2005, it was not accepted by Kew: http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/namedetail.do;jsessionid=61CF045DF0A27466BD990F604E2BE862?name_id=181046 

However, this year (2015), a phylogenetic analysis was done on the genus. Here is a figure from their results: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/store/10.1111/bij.12551/asset/image_n/bij12551-fig-0003.png?v=1&t=ii93k64d&s=767fe970afe4f57bed35f3793b9012e133afc959

Here's the caption that goes along with the figures:

"Figure 3. A, STAR and MP-EST trees share largely identical topologies but differ in support. The first support values are from MP-EST and the second from STAR (if only one value, both estimation methods had the same support); B, *BEAST phylogram with posterior probabilities – nodes with posterior probability < 50 were collapsed; C, concatenated dataset maximum-likelihood tree estimate."

We may see it be resurrected as a species because of this. I'm attaching a copy of the paper that in case anyone wants to read it.

 

The tricky part here is that there were some growers who purchased palms labelled as S. miamiensis that turned out to be S. palmetto. It seems a little silly to assume that the species doesn't exist if you happen to get a plant that turned out to be something else. S. miamiensis is distinct from S. palmetto in that it has an underground stem, larger seeds, and a more strongly curved costa. It can be fairly argued that S. miamiensis is a synonym of S. etonia, but I am very confident in saying that it is not a synonym of S. palmetto. Years ago, Christian Faulkner took me to see the S. miamiensis that many people have gotten their seeds from, and it is definitely not S. palmetto. The seeds were too big, the costa was too strongly curved, and most importantly, it was flowering and setting seed while trunkless. These are all characteristics of a palm that isn't S. palmetto. I also saw a palm that was sold as S. miamiensis that was definitely a S. palmetto. That doesn't mean the species isn't valid. That particular palm just turned out to be something that it wasn't sold as.

bij12551.pdf

Once I got home I noticed that the image I linked to won't load outside of USF's network. Here's a copy of the phylogenetic tree from the 2015 paper.

bij12551-fig-0003.png.b337276de13b439302

 

"Figure 3. A, STAR and MP-EST trees share largely identical topologies but differ in support. The first support values are from MP-EST and the second from STAR (if only one value, both estimation methods had the same support); B, *BEAST phylogram with posterior probabilities – nodes with posterior probability < 50 were collapsed; C, concatenated dataset maximum-likelihood tree estimate."

Meg, all 3 trees support S. mexicana and S. guatemalensis being split, so you'll be happy to hear that. 

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Vinc

I've been following your discussion with a lot of interest! Here my thoughts about it:

It is sure that palms, Scott Zona described as S. miamiensis in 1985, existed or possibly are still existing. If these plants are different enough from S. palmetto or S. etonia to be accepted as an own species is one question.

The other question is, if the Sabal from Meg is such a Sabal miamiensis, which was described from Zona.  If we compare it to Scoot Zonas description of S. miamiensis, we can see many similarities, but also some important differences (http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=222000324):

Leave number of plants described by Zona: 3-6: Megs palm has much more leaves!

The seeds of Megs palm are much smaller (6-8 mm) and not 10.2 - 11mm, even tough it grows under very good conditions I think (the size of Sabalseeds can vary strongly within a species depending on growing conditions)

Stems subterranean (Scott Zona): Megs palm shows already a lot of stem above ground for an 8 year old palm...

I still wouldn't say that Megs Sabal is not a S. miamiensis. It is possible that Sabal miamiensis is very variable (e. g. in seeds sizes) and that it grows bigger in cultivation. But the differences are anyway quite serious...

But it does not fit clearly to any other description of a Sabal species. So the question arises, if it is probably a hybrid...

Only one thing is clear: Megs Sabal is a very decorative, fast growing palm, and i'm happy to be in possession of some seedlings of it :).

 

 

 

 

 

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Zeeth
9 hours ago, TexasColdHardyPalms said:

I dont know if this is positively contributing to this thread but Sabal mexicana,  rosei and riverside have much larger seeds than the miamesis seeds that I received from Meg; with some mexicana being almost twice as large.  I've harvested hundreds of s. mexicana seeds that were as big as a dime.

Your comment made me do some more research and you're right about seed size. S. miamiensis isn't as big as S. mexicana. It is the largest of the 4 Florida Sabals though. 

 

Here is the fruit size comparison (these are diameters):

Sabal miamiensis: 15.7-19 mm

S. etonia: 9-15.4 mm

S. palmetto:  8.1-13.9 mm

S. minor:  6.4-9.7 mm

S. mexicana: 14.8-19.3

S. pumos: 18.5-27.8 mm

S. rosei: 15.3-22.4 mm

S. causiarum:  7.1-10.8 mm

S. domingensis: 11.5-14.1 mm

 

Now, here are the seed sizes (without fruit):

Sabal miamiensis: 10.2-11 mm

S. etonia: 6-10 mm

S. palmetto: 5-9 mm

S. minor: 4.4-6.9 mm

S. mexicana: 8.6-13.3 mm

S. pumos:11.8-18.8 mm

S. rosei: 10-15.5 mm

S. causiarum: 5.9-7.8 mm

S. domingensis: 8.0-10.4 mm

 

Interestingly, though the fruit size of S. miamiensis is quite a bit larger than S. etonia, seed size isn't as different. 

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Zeeth
4 minutes ago, Zeeth said:

Your comment made me do some more research and you're right about seed size. S. miamiensis isn't as big as S. mexicana. It is the largest of the 4 Florida Sabals though. 

 

Here is the fruit size comparison (these are diameters):

Sabal miamiensis: 15.7-19 mm

S. etonia: 9-15.4 mm

S. palmetto:  8.1-13.9 mm

S. minor:  6.4-9.7 mm

S. mexicana: 14.8-19.3

S. pumos: 18.5-27.8 mm

S. rosei: 15.3-22.4 mm

S. causiarum:  7.1-10.8 mm

S. domingensis: 11.5-14.1 mm

 

Now, here are the seed sizes (without fruit):

Sabal miamiensis: 10.2-11 mm

S. etonia: 6-10 mm

S. palmetto: 5-9 mm

S. minor: 4.4-6.9 mm

S. mexicana: 8.6-13.3 mm

S. pumos:11.8-18.8 mm

S. rosei: 10-15.5 mm

S. causiarum: 5.9-7.8 mm

S. domingensis: 8.0-10.4 mm

 

Interestingly, though the fruit size of S. miamiensis is quite a bit larger than S. etonia, seed size isn't as different. 

Here are some more:

Fruit diameter:

S. bermudana: 12.9-17.9 mm

S. guatemalensis: 10.7-14.3 mm

S. maritima: 8.5-14.2  mm

S. mauritiiformis: 8.8-11 mm

S. uresana: 13.5-18.4 mm

S. yapa: 9.8-12.8 mm

Seed diameter:

S. bermudana: 7.5-12.5 mm

S. guatemalensis: 7.7-11.2 mm

S. maritima: 6.5-9.7 mm

S. mauritiiformis: 6.6-7.9 mm

S. uresana: 9.7-14.1 mm

S. yapa: 6.1-8.9 mm

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Zeeth
17 hours ago, PalmatierMeg said:

 

Zeeth, I see S. etonia rearing its head again. A post in my sale topic said that perhaps S.m. was closer to S.p. I respect your point of view as well as the other poster's, but am more confused than ever. I believe my palm came from seeds Christian Faulkner collected from the palm you mention and it has all the characteristics you describe that differentiate it from S. palmetto, i.e., it's the real deal. I am lucky to have it. The leaves are so extremely costapalmate that they resemble the "praying hands" mentioned in some material I've read. My palm has flowered since 2013 and set seeds twice, which is a pretty good track record for an 8-yr-old Sabal. My ultimate point is that this plant is unique and worthy of preservation whatever it's called.

 

Here is some more info, per Scott Zona:

"The presence of both dwarfed S. palmetto and S. etonia in south Florida undoubtedly has led to some confusion which in turn has contributed to the debate concerning the validity of this taxon. Undoubtedly, S. miamiensis is more closely related to S. etonia than was previously believed (Zona 1985). Anatomically, S.miamiensis shares many features with S.etonia; although, S. etonia has more adaptations to arid environments. Habitat differences are critical, the S. etonia grows on white sand , not oolite."

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Eric in Orlando

I've seen it mentioned that Sabal miamiensis may be a hybrid between S. etonia and S. palmetto. Just south of downtown Miami in the Coconut Grove area, Mattheson Hammock/ Fairchild/Montgomery/Deering Estate/Perrine you see dwarfed S. palmetto with more slender trunks and deeper divided leaves. Maybe this form of S. palmetto crossed with S. etonia.

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Zeeth
1 hour ago, Eric in Orlando said:

I've seen it mentioned that Sabal miamiensis may be a hybrid between S. etonia and S. palmetto. Just south of downtown Miami in the Coconut Grove area, Mattheson Hammock/ Fairchild/Montgomery/Deering Estate/Perrine you see dwarfed S. palmetto with more slender trunks and deeper divided leaves. Maybe this form of S. palmetto crossed with S. etonia.

Scott Zona originally proposed that S. miamiensis might be a hybrid between the two, but says that it's much more similar to S. etonia than previously thought in the Sabal monograph. I could see Meg's palm fitting into that description, but the one in Englewood that many of the cultivated palms originated from looks more like S. etonia. 

 

I have seen the dwarfed S. palmetto in Miami, and Scott Zona mentions it as one of the reasons for the confusion. I had assumed this was a product of environment though, as the soil is too shallow for the palms to grow their heel deep into the ground, so it's like permanent pot-culture. 

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Moose
5 minutes ago, Zeeth said:

Scott Zona originally proposed that S. miamiensis might be a hybrid between the two, but says that it's much more similar to S. etonia than previously thought in the Sabal monograph. I could see Meg's palm fitting into that description, but the one in Englewood that many of the cultivated palms originated from looks more like S. etonia though. 

 

I have seen the dwarfed S. palmetto in Miami though, and Scott Zona mentions it as one of the reasons for the confusion. I had assumed this was a product of environment though, as the soil is too shallow for the palms to grow their heel deep into the ground, so it's like permanent pot-culture. 

Your spot on with your comments Keith.

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Eric in Orlando

S. etonia and S. miamiensis were found in 2 different habitats. Sabal etonia grows in sand, in scrub habitat along with Sand Pine, Pinus clausa. Sabal miamiensis grew on oolite limestone with South Florida Slash Pine, Pinus elliottii var. densa.

 

We have had one growing for about 16 years now. It has grown larger than S. etonia but is trunkless and larger fruit. Whatever it is its different, wherether a hybrid or distinct variety or even ecotype.

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Zeeth
2 minutes ago, Eric in Orlando said:

S. etonia and S. miamiensis were found in 2 different habitats. Sabal etonia grows in sand, in scrub habitat along with Sand Pine, Pinus clausa. Sabal miamiensis grew on oolite limestone with South Florida Slash Pine, Pinus elliottii var. densa.

 

We have had one growing for about 16 years now. It has grown larger than S. etonia but is trunkless and larger fruit. Whatever it is its different, wherether a hybrid or distinct variety or even ecotype.

Do you grow Sabal x brazoriensis? It might be interesting to see how it differs from S. miamiensis in growth and ultimate height.

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Vinc
22 minutes ago, Eric in Orlando said:

S. etonia and S. miamiensis were found in 2 different habitats. Sabal etonia grows in sand, in scrub habitat along with Sand Pine, Pinus clausa. Sabal miamiensis grew on oolite limestone with South Florida Slash Pine, Pinus elliottii var. densa.

 

We have had one growing for about 16 years now. It has grown larger than S. etonia but is trunkless and larger fruit. Whatever it is its different, wherether a hybrid or distinct variety or even ecotype.

Photos of your S. miamiensis and etonia would be of great interest :)

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hbernstein

I'm pretty sure that Scott Zona has abandoned the concept of Sabal miamiensis being a distinct species.

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Mandrew968
On 12/16/2015, 1:40:32, Zeeth said:

Sabal miamiensis is closely related to S. etonia, but is distinct in being branched to 3 orders rather than 2 (though Alberto has shown a picture of his S. etonia branching to 3 orders, that is not the norm and is probably an effect of growing in an environment very different from Florida), and having seeds 1.5-2 cm in diameter, compared to 1-1.5 cm.

The name is currently accepted by a few places, as suggested here: http://www.tropicos.org/Name/2401095?tab=references

As of 2005, it was not accepted by Kew: http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/namedetail.do;jsessionid=61CF045DF0A27466BD990F604E2BE862?name_id=181046 

However, this year (2015), a phylogenetic analysis was done on the genus. Here is a figure from their results: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/store/10.1111/bij.12551/asset/image_n/bij12551-fig-0003.png?v=1&t=ii93k64d&s=767fe970afe4f57bed35f3793b9012e133afc959

Here's the caption that goes along with the figures:

"Figure 3. A, STAR and MP-EST trees share largely identical topologies but differ in support. The first support values are from MP-EST and the second from STAR (if only one value, both estimation methods had the same support); B, *BEAST phylogram with posterior probabilities – nodes with posterior probability < 50 were collapsed; C, concatenated dataset maximum-likelihood tree estimate."

We may see it be resurrected as a species because of this. I'm attaching a copy of the paper that in case anyone wants to read it.

 

The tricky part here is that there were some growers who purchased palms labelled as S. miamiensis that turned out to be S. palmetto. It seems a little silly to assume that the species doesn't exist if you happen to get a plant that turned out to be something else. S. miamiensis is distinct from S. palmetto in that it has an underground stem, larger seeds, and a more strongly curved costa. It can be fairly argued that S. miamiensis is a synonym of S. etonia, but I am very confident in saying that it is not a synonym of S. palmetto. Years ago, Christian Faulkner took me to see the S. miamiensis that many people have gotten their seeds from, and it is definitely not S. palmetto. The seeds were too big, the costa was too strongly curved, and most importantly, it was flowering and setting seed while trunkless. These are all characteristics of a palm that isn't S. palmetto. I also saw a palm that was sold as S. miamiensis that was definitely a S. palmetto. That doesn't mean the species isn't valid. That particular palm just turned out to be something that it wasn't sold as.

bij12551.pdf

Keith, I doubt soil differences can affect the branching order of a palm... and all Sabal palmetto flower and seed, before they show any trunk. I would like to see the seed size difference in miamiensis and palmetto--I am not sure how much bigger you guys are talking.

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Mandrew968
14 hours ago, hbernstein said:

I'm pretty sure that Scott Zona has abandoned the concept of Sabal miamiensis being a distinct species.

This is what I have heard/believe as well. Last time I talked with Dr. Larry Noblick on this matter, he said he believed it to be a true species, but that the species is now extinct.

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Eric in Orlando
22 hours ago, Zeeth said:

Do you grow Sabal x brazoriensis? It might be interesting to see how it differs from S. miamiensis in growth and ultimate height.

 

We have a couple specimens of Sabal x brazoriensis, they are young and only about a foot tall.

 

 

 

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PalmatierMeg

I took the following photos of Sabal miamiensis seeds compared to Sabal palmetto Lisa seeds (the only palmetto seeds I have but still typical) alongside a millimeter ruler. Miamiensis seeds significantly larger.

#1 - Sabal miamiensis seeds

567447abd183d_Sabalmiamiensisseeds0112-1

#2 - Sabal palmetto Lisa seeds

567447fcb7d3c_SabalpalmettoLisaseeds0112

#3 - Both Sabals together

5674482ea53ec_SabalmiamiensisnpalmettoLi

 

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Zeeth
9 hours ago, Mandrew968 said:

Keith, I doubt soil differences can affect the branching order of a palm... and all Sabal palmetto flower and seed, before they show any trunk. I would like to see the seed size difference in miamiensis and palmetto--I am not sure how much bigger you guys are talking.

https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fr357

"Sabal palmetto is arborescent or tree-like with a stout trunk between 6 inches (15 cm) and 18 inches (45cm) in diameter, with or without old leaf bases attached (Figure 2). Cabbage palms can remain in an “establishment” or “juvenile” phase for many years before developing an aboveground trunk. During this trunkless stage they will not flower or fruit. Therefore, a trunkless Sabal-like palm with an inflorescence cannot be S. palmetto."

 

 

Go back and read my comment. I never said soil differences would affect the branching order. Alberto lives on the tableland of South Brazil, which is a much different climate than Florida. The differences are much different than just soil. I also posted an extensive list of seed and fruit sizes from the literature.

Walt has said in the past that Sabal etonia is sometimes branches to 3 orders on his property also though, but that branching to 2 orders is definitely the norm in that species.

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cfkingfish

Conclusion: S. miamiensis may or not be a distinct species of Sabal, but it was at some point in the past. It is hard when the species is considered extinct in the wild to compare it to species with millions of specimens. All I can tell you is that the one near me is not minor, etonia, or palmetto. 

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TexasColdHardyPalms

Here is a picture of various Sabal Seed sizes for comparison purposes.  As I mentioned before each S. Mexicana produces a few hundred huge seeds; roughly the diameter of a dime.  I just shipped 175,000 seeds so I only had rejected/floated S. Mexicana seed to choose from for this picture. 

20151218_223242.jpg

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TexasColdHardyPalms

This picture has better lighting

20151218_223258.jpg

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Zeeth

Great picture! It's too bad you don't have S. etonia seeds to compare. 

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Walt

Well, I have Sabal etonia with both two and three orders of inflorescence branching. The ones with three are either etonia or a hybrid. I've had Don Hodell inspect these palms for himself some years ago. Also, I had a guy from Germany take tissue samples of each palm in proximity of each other (one with two orders of branching, the other with three orders of branching) that was going to perform some kind of DNA test on them. But when he returned to Germany I never heard from him again. Perhaps some on this forum may know of him. All I recall is that is first name was Michael, and he was a medical doctor by profession, but also ran a website selling ornamental banana and palm seeds. That is how I met him, probably at this forum, as he asked me to trade some Sabal etonia seeds for ornamental banana  seeds. Then when he vacationed in Florida he dropped by my place.

Also, I've read somewhere online that Sabal etonia can produce both two or three orders of branching. What I do know is, when they produce three orders of branching, the branching is more loose and sprawling, more like Sabal palmetto. The ones producing only two orders of branching are much more compact and less sprawling (like the ones in the attached YouTube video of mine at about the 3:50 mark). I have almost innumerable amount of Sabal etonia on my property. Some are small (and stay small). Some are medium size (as shown in the video). Others are fairly big, maybe 7-8 feet high overall with some vertical unbooted stem. I had one S. etonia with about 18" of vertical stem but inexplicably died.

This spring I will do an entire YouTube video on my Sabal etonia, showing the variances in size and also in orders of inflorescence. The below video is not about Sabal etonia, but does show one or two in inflorescence beginning at the 3:50 mark.

 

 

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Bigfish

I'm very interested, since I have a sibling palm to Meg's.  Mine came from Christian's seeds also, and is about the same age.  Mine seeded for the first time this year, and I was going to sell them...but when I went to harvest them, they appear smaller than S. miamiensis should be, so I suppose I'll just sow them all.  Maybe since it's the first year it has seeded, that's the reason for smaller than normal seeds. 

Here's my seeds for comparison.  I included some freshly harvested S. etonia on the bottom row for comparison (They have not been dried out yet, but that shouldn't make much of a difference).

 

567632a0e8684_Sabalmiamiensisandetonia.t

 

 

 

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Mandrew968
On 12/18/2015, 3:40:45, Zeeth said:

https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fr357

"Sabal palmetto is arborescent or tree-like with a stout trunk between 6 inches (15 cm) and 18 inches (45cm) in diameter, with or without old leaf bases attached (Figure 2). Cabbage palms can remain in an “establishment” or “juvenile” phase for many years before developing an aboveground trunk. During this trunkless stage they will not flower or fruit. Therefore, a trunkless Sabal-like palm with an inflorescence cannot be S. palmetto."

 

 

Go back and read my comment. I never said soil differences would affect the branching order. Alberto lives on the tableland of South Brazil, which is a much different climate than Florida. The differences are much different than just soil. I also posted an extensive list of seed and fruit sizes from the literature.

Walt has said in the past that Sabal etonia is sometimes branches to 3 orders on his property also though, but that branching to 2 orders is definitely the norm in that species.

Keith, thank you for the presented information. I was not saying you said anything. I deduced it and had two basic points I wanted to point out; I could be wrong in my thoughts of flower structure being unaffected by climate and soil differences. However, I will just have to get pictures of palmetto seeding without trunk-this is an obvious and common characteristic of palmetto and I have even witnessed it with Lisa(which is the same palm-palmetto).

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Zeeth

It would be interesting if that's a common trait by you, because I've never seen it in the millions of Sabal palmetto that I've seen here. Maybe that's a characteristic of the dwarfing that occurs with South Florida Sabal palmetto? 

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Mandrew968

Keith, I dont believe so as there is nothing in our soil to cause dwarfism and I have seen it in the palmetto on the side of the road of highway 98, in the panhandle.

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