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A Tree Or Not A Tree, That Is The Question

Where would our Florida landscape be without palms?

The sabal palm (Sabal palmetto) is a common native palm and Florida’s state tree, although not technically a tree at all.

The sabal palm (Sabal palmetto) is a common native palm and Florida’s state tree, although not technically a tree at all.

What would the Florida landscape be without our palms? Those gracefully curved trunks and topknots of fronds are mainstays of any tropical setting. Yet while many palms serve as trees in the landscape, they are not true trees, botanically speaking, because they don't have a cambium layer under a coating of bark and cannot develop annual layers of wood like actual trees. Palms are monocots and are more like grasses. A cross-section of a palm shows a curly or random fibrous grain rather than annual rings. This arrangement of woody tissue is usually quite flexible, making palms an excellent choice for wind-tolerant landscaping.

Read the entire article in the April 2011 issue