Herb: Mexican Palmetto

Latin name: Sabal mexicana

Synonyms: Sabal texana

Family: Palmae

Edible parts of Mexican Palmetto:

The fruit is a small dry berry up to 25mm in diameter, with a thin sweet flesh. Although we have seen no records of edibility for this species, the following uses are for the related S. palmetto. They quite probably also apply here. Fruit - raw or cooked. Sweet and pleasant. A nourishing food, though it is said to be an acquired taste. The fruit is up to 12mm long and 3mm wide. Young leaves - raw or cooked. An excellent food. Sap - sweet.

Description of the plant:


10 m
(33 feet)

Habitat of the herb:

Rich soil of the bottom lands near the coast.

Other uses of Mexican Palmetto:

The leaves are used for making baskets, chair seats or thatch. The following reports are for S. palmetto. They quite probably also apply to this species. An excellent fibre is obtained from the leaf stalks. The best quality is from young leaf stalks still in the bud, whilst coarser material is obtained from older leaves or the bases of old leaf stalks surrounding the bud. The fibres are up to 50cm long, they are harvested commercially and used to make brushes, especially where these have to remain stiff in hot water or caustics. The roots contain tannin.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a warm greenhouse at not less than 24C. Stored seed is very slow to germinate. Pre-soaking the seed for 24 hours in warm water prior to sowing may shorten the germination time. Plants form a long tap-root some time before forming a shoot. Germination of fresh seed usually takes place in 3 - 4 months at 25C. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first two winters. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Consider giving them some protection from the cold for at least their first winter outdoors.

Cultivation of Mexican Palmetto:

Rich soil of the bottom lands near the coast.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Sabal mexicana:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.