The palm is covered with jagged “boots” (old leaf bases) until fairly old. Leaves are blue-green, fan-shaped, slightly folded with arched midrib and slender drooping segments, with many threadlike fibers. Flowers are small and fragrant in branched clusters. Fruit is glossy brown with a tough skin. This palm is the Florida state tree.
Wildlife – Many birds utilize the fruit for food. Many bees, flies, and wasps visit the flowers and pollinate them. Literally hundreds of species and thousands of individuals are fed and served by this palm, according to a study made some years ago.
The Indians reduced the dried fruits to a coarse meal that they made into bread. The terminal bud, or “cabbage,” is a delicacy raw or cooked. Leaves were used for thatching traditional Seminole homes. The leaves were also used to make potato drying mats, fish drags, and rope. Aborigines used the fruits for food.