Synonyms: Sabal umbraculifera
“Blackburn Palmetto Palm”
Natural Habitat: Naturally found throughout the state of Florida where it can be found along side Sabal palmetto.
Description: A highly debated member of the Sabal family, which is thought by some to be a variation of Sabal palmetto, while others argue it’s a separate species. In cultivation the blackburniana is often sold separate from S. palmetto probably due to the long term history of this palm. So if you bought seeds or seedlings as S. blackburniana you will keep them under that name. Most experts now consider this palm a variation of S. palmetto.
For the most part the blackburniana is very similar in appearance to S. palmetto, reaching heights over 50 feet tall in habitat, and 30 feet tall in cultivation. The main difference we have found is the color and size of the leaves. The color of the costapalmate leaves tend to be more bluish in color then the greener leaves of S. palmetto. Another differing trait is that the blackburniana has smaller more compact leaves then the S. palmetto. In habitat, it could be nearly impossible to tell the two apart, even with a well trained eye. Hopefully there will be further study into the difference between these two palms in the near future.
Environment: A very tough palm that can acclimate to wide variety of environments. Enjoys sunny moist areas where it can get watered regularly and grow upwards. Drought tolerant and storm proof, this palm fairs well in most Southern states with warm summers. Cold hardy to the low teen, the blackburniana can handle frosts and freezes. Zones 8-11. The blackburniana should be planted with room to grow tall.