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NC_Palm_Enthusiast

Sabal minor growing wild in Greensboro, NC

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NC_Palm_Enthusiast

This afternoon while walking the Piedmont Trail (off Strawberry Road) in Greensboro, I stumbled upon a couple dozen or more sabal minors growing in a swampy area parallel to Lake Brandt. There were volunteers coming up everywhere, along with several older palms. My guess is somebody threw some seeds along the trail or planted a couple and they reproduced. Greensboro is around 80 miles west of the fall line, so pretty far away from the native range of dwarf palmettos. Here are some pictures I took:

163EB2F5-8339-4CD6-ACDA-4B796CA74D0C.thumb.jpeg.93df5f8bd945a3cacc9837f7449cd6b4.jpeg55E8D6E0-BCFA-4EC9-B18F-9AEB5A72E613.thumb.jpeg.a9b6da7790ab564c509b7ec5ca1146df.jpegF7C06EEC-4C9F-4079-9434-FBA071CE8A36.thumb.jpeg.9b208b10e231cdd2dad95b3d28023871.jpegBA57BAAE-58AE-4C54-ABB6-9D3572A33E1F.thumb.jpeg.1b73e5a22ee4bf14c5e4bb325e89108d.jpeg7411BB80-FC6A-4C5F-B940-2F76662C382D.thumb.jpeg.43b5e855115ecbad0df9e2255d3cbeff.jpeg450E490F-9DF6-4869-871C-62DEF00FA269.thumb.jpeg.904a9ea3eeaf15e4a652e77b711e5971.jpegA8EC7B17-0B75-459E-8A34-17D476F2393B.thumb.jpeg.7537803e31bb7b1ead28ef81967ff422.jpeg


I also saw some of what I think are Southern Magnolias coming up. Here they are:AE49F88E-23C5-44E6-9124-EF1DEA0CF5DA.thumb.jpeg.82ef8edfec6d7acdb20f82ec642c3797.jpeg

10DB73D6-E0F3-42A7-A4D1-DC8C71FF9D22.thumb.jpeg.abe2fe50634a3ccc28e94eff5d774153.jpeg

Edited by NC_Palm_Enthusiast
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PalmTreeDude

That's really far inland and north! I would recommend posting some of these to iNaturalist as well. Really cool observation, a bird may have originally spread the seed, or like you said, there could be some planted near by and they are simply reproducing. 

Edited by PalmTreeDude
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NC_Palm_Enthusiast
4 minutes ago, PalmTreeDude said:

That's really far inland and north! I would recommend posting some of these to iNaturalist as well. Really cool observation, a bird may have originally spread the seed, or like you said, there could be some planted near by and they are simply reproducing. 

I’ll do that now

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PalmsNC

You lucky son of a gun! Here I am excited about Spanish moss being native to the area and you found some wild sabal minor! If I ever found that in some woods, especially deep in the woods I would flip! It would be the find of a century!

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PalmsNC
1 hour ago, PalmTreeDude said:

That's really far inland and north! I would recommend posting some of these to iNaturalist as well. Really cool observation, a bird may have originally spread the seed, or like you said, there could be some planted near by and they are simply reproducing. 

I doubt a bird spread the seed, it seems too far from where the range starts. If it were say wilson nc, or even here it could be more probable. I definitely think there was a palm planted there and it reproduced or someone threw the seeds. Duke Gardens is neat if you want to see hundreds of wild sabal minors in a piedmont forest setting. I got pictures from my visit there years ago, they planted a lot and over the years the ones that were planted have reproduced and can be found in every corner of the forest.

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PalmsNC
 
 
 
 
1 hour ago, NC_Palm_Enthusiast said:

This afternoon while walking the Piedmont Trail (off Strawberry Road) in Greensboro, I stumbled upon a couple dozen or more sabal minors growing in a swampy area parallel to Lake Brandt. There were volunteers coming up everywhere, along with several older palms. My guess is somebody threw some seeds along the trail or planted a couple and they reproduced. Greensboro is around 80 miles west of the fall line, so pretty far away from the native range of dwarf palmettos. Here are some pictures I took:

 


I also saw some of what I think are Southern Magnolias coming up. Here they are:

I want to ask, all of Guilford County is in zone 7B  using the USDA 1976-2005 map, but you have your hardiness as 7b/7a. Why?

 

I posted on another thread here the mean minimums for various cities using the last 30 years and Greensboro is actually 8A/7B with a mean minimum of a bit over 10.

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GottmitAlex

That is laudable! :greenthumb::greenthumb::greenthumb:

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NC_Palm_Enthusiast
48 minutes ago, PalmsNC said:

You lucky son of a gun! Here I am excited about Spanish moss being native to the area and you found some wild sabal minor! If I ever found that in some woods, especially deep in the woods I would flip! It would be the find of a century!

Well, it was right beside a trail that gets quite a bit of foot traffic. Pretty sure somebody planted them or threw seeds back in there. There’s always a chance a bird or something brought seeds in but I doubt it. It was still pretty cool to find some that naturalized here, though.

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NC_Palm_Enthusiast
44 minutes ago, PalmsNC said:

I want to ask, all of Guilford County is in zone 7B  using the USDA 1976-2005 map, but you have your hardiness as 7b/7a. Why?

 

I posted on another thread here the mean minimums for various cities using the last 30 years and Greensboro is actually 8A/7B with a mean minimum of a bit over 10.

I was just going off of hardiness maps I’ve found on the internet. I actually live in the extreme NW part of the county which is considered 7a according to one the maps I’ve seen. But now that I’ve looked at the data you mentioned, I believe I’ll change it to 7b.

Edited by NC_Palm_Enthusiast

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NC_Palm_Enthusiast
48 minutes ago, PalmsNC said:

I doubt a bird spread the seed, it seems too far from where the range starts. If it were say wilson nc, or even here it could be more probable. I definitely think there was a palm planted there and it reproduced or someone threw the seeds. Duke Gardens is neat if you want to see hundreds of wild sabal minors in a piedmont forest setting. I got pictures from my visit there years ago, they planted a lot and over the years the ones that were planted have reproduced and can be found in every corner of the forest.

Yeah, that seems more likely. I actually saw those in Duke Gardens a few years ago. It was awesome

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NC_Palms

Wow!! I never knew of any populations near Greensboro. I wonder how they got there. I doubt they are native but according to the NC Native Plant Society, Sabal minor will sometimes naturalize in the piedmont. 

"Swamps, maritime forests, low moist woods, especially in calcareous soils developed from shell limestone (marl), rarely planted as an ornamental farther inland, where persisting (and appearing native) or possibly naturalizing. Common in NC Coastal Plain, rare as naturalized plant in Piedmont."

https://www.ncwildflower.org/plant_galleries/details/sabal-minor

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NC_Palm_Enthusiast
41 minutes ago, NC_Palms said:

Wow!! I never knew of any populations near Greensboro. I wonder how they got there. I doubt they are native but according to the NC Native Plant Society, Sabal minor will sometimes naturalize in the piedmont. 

"Swamps, maritime forests, low moist woods, especially in calcareous soils developed from shell limestone (marl), rarely planted as an ornamental farther inland, where persisting (and appearing native) or possibly naturalizing. Common in NC Coastal Plain, rare as naturalized plant in Piedmont."

https://www.ncwildflower.org/plant_galleries/details/sabal-minor

Yeah, before I found them I had no idea they could naturalize this far inland. It seems like someone throwing seeds or planting a couple is the most probable way they got there, but it’s still cool that they’ve naturalized. Today in downtown Greensboro I saw another clump of sabal minors by a stream next to the greenway. I also saw several large live oaks by the courthouse- had no idea those could survive here either. I’ll have to get some pictures next time I’m downtown

Edited by NC_Palm_Enthusiast

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NC_Palms
8 minutes ago, NC_Palm_Enthusiast said:

Yeah, before I found them I had no idea they could naturalize this far inland. It seems like someone throwing seeds or planting a couple is the most probable way they got there, but it’s still cool that they’ve naturalized. Today in downtown Greensboro I saw another clump of sabal minors by a stream next to the greenway. I also saw several large live oaks by the courthouse- had no idea those could survive here either. I’ll have to get some pictures next time I’m downtown

Remember that Sabal minor is somewhat commonly planted throughout the North Carolina piedmont. I've even seen them for sale in nurseries around the area. I think that people planting Sabal minor has allowed it to naturalize due to birds and other small animals eating the fruit in the fall. 

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NC_Palm_Enthusiast
2 minutes ago, NC_Palms said:

Remember that Sabal minor is somewhat commonly planted throughout the North Carolina piedmont. I've even seen them for sale in nurseries around the area. I think that people planting Sabal minor has allowed it to naturalize due to birds and other small animals eating the fruit in the fall. 

Yes, especially in the Raleigh area. Around Greensboro, however, I’ve never seen them for sale. 

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kinzyjr

With the wide availability of Sabal minor 'McCurtain' and Sabal minor 'Cherokee', the sky is the limit for naturalization outside of this palm's native range.  Areas in states with cold winters and hot summers (warmer parts of Missouri, the southern portion of Illinois) would have a lot of luck with these.

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PalmTreeDude

They'll naturalize here easily. Someday when mine get seeds I'm going to germinate half of them and throw the other half in a little wooded area just to see how they do. 

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kinzyjr
33 minutes ago, PalmTreeDude said:

They'll naturalize here easily. Someday when mine get seeds I'm going to germinate half of them and throw the other half in a little wooded area just to see how they do. 

When my McCurtains and Cherokees hit fruiting age, I'll gladly contribute seeds to the madness.

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PalmTreeDude
2 minutes ago, kinzyjr said:

When my McCurtains and Cherokees hit fruiting age, I'll gladly contribute seeds to the madness.

I have 100 seeds of Sabal minor 'Cherokee' in a community pot outside. None sprouted over the summer, but I know that they'll sometimes decide to wait a long time (like my Sabal palmetto seeds did) so I'm hoping that in the Spring or early summer they'll start sprouting. 

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NC_Palm_Enthusiast

Update:

Yesterday afternoon I visited the same location to check in on the palms. The area where they are growing is right along the shoreline of a backwater cove,  so the soil is very moist. The underbrush around the palms is extremely grown up to the point where their growth is probably being negatively affected. I doubt they get enough sunlight to put on much growth during the warm months. Makes me want to take a weedeater & some clippers down there and carve them out some space.  

Here's a few pictures:

 

lb5.thumb.jpg.8ada57f2a725506ada4d9328149b4157.jpg

Hand for reference:

lb2.thumb.jpg.29175f1d031d80231737e565636514a9.jpg

lb3.thumb.jpg.74a4445e936eea44223565cbf34b3bc5.jpg

lb6.thumb.jpg.7b46718a5abf8d237a8d8a2fb3b141f7.jpg

lb1.thumb.jpg.4ee24668c8ef201aea1ae7de1bea1c43.jpg

 

You can see how overgrown most of them are, definitely struggling to get sunlight:

lb7.thumb.jpg.a54f9e5997ee30af8fca33cd1281aaf2.jpg

 

Here's a pic of the sun poking through a canopy of Loblolly pines. As usual, the picture doesn't do it justice - looked much prettier in person.

lblly.thumb.jpg.51e39933523bf253affc6c7d419902c7.jpg

 

The trail passes through a nearby field which is just plumb full of kudzu. I hate that stuff with a passion - it's so invasive, and in my experience terribly hard to eradicate:

kudzu.thumb.jpg.ac362795286a1648ed279ce8ff047112.jpg

Edited by NC_Palm_Enthusiast
typo
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NC_Palm_Enthusiast

Well, the mystery of how the sabal minors got there has now been (partly) solved.

After doing some searching around on the internet, I noticed that one of the other trails on the opposite side of the lake is named the Palmetto Trail - not sure how I overlooked this before. Here's a screenshot from that trail's webpage:

patr.jpg.f8fdc7edf1b6b60caa89fc8e407e1332.jpg

So, at least on that side of the lake (which I have yet to visit), the palms were intentionally planted. That still doesn't answer how palms ended up on the north side of the lake, but I'll assume that they were either planted there as well, or that they were spread by birds/other wildlife. 

This is a map of the lake. The area in blue is where I found minors growing, the area in red is where the alleged "commemorative" palms were planted:

lbmap.jpg.d5dfafc4d3bea876ae8764f880e25284.jpg

I will definitely be checking out the red area next chance I get. I'll make sure to get pictures if there are as many palms as the webpage claims.

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