To Waller Creek Sabal Census
Sabal minor is usually a small palm with a subterranean trunk.
Scott Zona, Flora of North America

Viewing the Underground Trunk of the Dwarf Palmetto (Sabal minor)

by Bob Harms ()
It is virtually impossible to remove a dwarf palmetto from the wild and transplant it. An oversimplified statement of why this is so is that this palm has a substantial underground (thus normally invisible) trunk, often several feet deep, and this trunk is often confused with a root or corm structure capable of supplying the plant with nutrients (which is not correct). [A more detailed explanation for why.] When I noted a sizeable dwarf palmetto population growing on a bank of deep sand above the Pedernales River in N. Hays County, I decided to obtain permission to dig along one edge of a 'trunk' in order to photograph it, with the understanding that I would not disturb its roots. The palms are on the Acacia Preserve, one of the gems of the Natural Area Preservation Association (NAPA). The preserve owner, Nancy Powell Moore, kindly gave me permission, as did the NAPA Stewardship Director, Kerry Olenick.

The photos below document this 'dig.' (You may click on any photo to view a larger version.)

SAMI8 environment
The selected palmetto on a shelf above the river.
SAMI8 before the dig
Before digging.
the hole
The hole.
SAMI8 after the dig
After the dig.

The Trunk

SAMI8 plant w trunk
Seen both above and below ground.
14.5 inch trunk
I did not dig deeper than 14.5 inches;
the trunk may have been a bit deeper.
Upper trunk
Upper portion of the trunk.
Trunk detail