Sabal etonia

Common Name: scrub palmetto 
Type: Palm or Cycad
Family: Arecaceae
Native Range: Florida
Zone: 8 to 11
Height: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 5.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil


Winter hardy to USDA Zone 8, but may survive winters in Zone 7b if sited in protected locations and mulched in winter. It is easily grown in organically rich, moderately fertile, evenly moist but well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. It also grows well in dry sandy soils. Best performance is in part shade. Established plants have drought tolerance. Plants rarely sucker. Plants may be propagated by seed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Sabal etoinia, commonly known as scrub palmetto or scrub palm, is a small, shrubby, evergreen palm which features a subterranean trunk and a crown bud that is located below the soil surface. This palm is native to the central and southeastern scrublands of Florida. It is commonly found and protected in the Ocala National Forest. Although its native habitat only exists in the State of Florida, it is not considered at this time to be an endangered species.

Each plant features 4 to 7, costopalmate leaves (to 3’ across), with each leaf featuring 25-50 narrow, rigid, pointed one-ribbed segments in the shape of a fan. Segments are joined at the base. Segments develop marginal thread-like filaments as they mature. Plants typically grow to 3-4’ (less frequently to 6’) tall and to 4-5’ wide. Fragrant white flowers bloom in spring-summer in inflorescences rising to the same height as the leaves, but often shorter. Flowers are followed by fleshy, spherical to ovoid, one-seeded drupes (to 1/2” long) that mature to black.

Genus name is of unclear origin and meaning, but may have been derived from the Latin name for palmetto.


No serious insect or disease problems. Scale, mites and leaf skeletonizer.


Brings tropical flair to part shade areas of the landscape. Evergreen foliage is unique and attractive in winter. Specimen or groups. Containers.