Sabal riverside

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Sabal (SAH-bahl)
palmetto var. 'riverside'
Riverside, CA. Photo by Brad-Tampa.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Sabal (SAH-bahl)
palmetto var. 'riverside'
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Costapalmate, with recurving leaf.
Survivability index
Common names
Riverside Sabal Palm

Habitat and Distribution

Riverside, California.
Riverside, CA. Photo by Brad-Tampa.


Known for its enormous, bluish green, fan-shaped fronds and its remarkable cold hardiness, this hybrid from the vicinity of Riverside, California, is also among the fastest growing palmettos. Eventually forming a medium to tall, single-trunked palm, it may have either Sabal bermudana or Sabal domingensis in its lineage.

The gigantic, rounded, evergreen fronds have numerous narrow sword-shaped segments which sometimes droop slightly. The fronds are held on long stout stems ("petioles"). The upper trunk of older specimens is cross-hatched with the angled, wedge-shaped petiole bases of fallen leaves. The petiole bases eventually detach, leaving ring-like scars. Old specimens can become quite tall. A long branching cluster of tiny ivory flowers appears in summer, attracting bees and other pollinators. Small fruits form afterward. Editing by edric.


Grow Riverside palmetto in full sun and fertile, well-drained soil. It does well in hot and dry or cool and damp conditions. It tolerates temperatures of minus 11 C (12 degrees F). Although fast-growing for a Sabal, it is still slower than many palms. Warm soil and summer irrigation may hasten its growth. Use it as an accent plant in a mixed border, or as a specimen in a lawn to bring a tropical look to temperate gardens. It also does well in large containers.

Comments and Curiosities

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.

Special thanks to, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos.

Glossary of Palm Terms; Based on the glossary in Dransfield, J., N.W. Uhl, C.B. Asmussen-Lange, W.J. Baker, M.M. Harley & C.E. Lewis. 2008. Genera Palmarum - Evolution and Classification of the Palms. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. All images copyright of the artists and photographers (see images for credits).

Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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