Do you know why the Palmetto tree is the state tree of South Carolina?
On January 28, 1861 the General Assembly at the time adopted the current version of South Carolina's flag—which prominently displays a palmetto tree--to symbolized Colonel Moultrie's heroic defense of the palmetto-log fort on Sullivan's Island against the attack of the British fleet on June 28, 1776.
The triumph at Fort Moultrie was largely accredited to the ability of the palmetto tree fort to absorb the force of British cannonballs. The palmetto became a symbol of liberty and safety in South Carolina. The palmetto tree was first included as a decorative element on the South Carolina state seal in 1777 and then added to the state flag in 1861. The flag design has remained in tact since then and has become a symbol of pride for many South Carolinians. June 28th is remembered, each year, as "Carolina Day" and celebrated in Charleston each year, with images of the palmetto tree depicted throughout the city.
What's so great about the palmetto tree? Well, the trunk of palmetto trees are not comprised of wood but a fibrous material that allows the tree to bend in the strong winds common along the South Carolina coastline. They endure salt spray and sandy soils and stand tall and beautiful throughout the year. In the United States, the native range of the palmetto tree is the coastal plain of the lower East Coast from southeast North Carolina southward to Florida and west along the Gulf Coastal plain to Texas.
The main difference between palmettos and palm trees are their size. Palm trees can top 80 feet tall, while the largest palmetto grows only about 30 feet tall. Palm tree trunks grow vertically, while the main stem of most palmetto species generally stay on or just below the ground and grow horizontally.
Adding a palmetto tree to your yard is a great way to show state pride, while also add beauty and variety to your landscaping. There are a host of other plants and trees that pair well with the palmetto tree. If you're considering planting trees or updating your landscaping contact us and we'll be happy to offer our help and advice on where and when is the best time to plant!