This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Mr. A. H. Curtiss tells the Florida Dispatch: " The palmetto naturally excites more interest in the mind of tourists than any other tree, and here, at the very gateway to the State, they may see it in its perfect development and study it in its various stages of growth. During the first year the palmetto puts forth one or two narrow, plaited leaves, and a multitude of tough, cord-like roots. Having securely established itself in the ground, it begins to develop its characteristic fan-shaped leaves, the linear divisions of which diverge from a stout, recurved midrib, which, in the dwarf palmettos, is wholly lacking. For many years the trunk is concealed by the imbricated bases of the large leaf-stalks, which are provided with sheaths of tough, interwoven, brown fibres. The leaf-stalks are held firmly in position by these sheaths for years after the leaves disappear; they split at the base as the trunk enlarges, become bleached, and, bristling outward in all directions like ivory tusks, present a most singular appearance. After many years the leafstalks fall off and leave exposed the brown, cylindrical, somewhat ringed trunk, which may be thicker in the middle or at the top than at the base.
The small, cream-colored flowers are borne in immense panicles and are succeeded by black berries which have the flavor of dates. To the extreme diversity of appearance of the palmetto these forests owe their peculiar beauty. Each heightening the effect of the others, the scene borrows grace from the young palmetto's fountainlike sprays of green leafage, picturesqueness from the white pronged trunks, and grandeur from the towering brown shafts of older trees, while variety and contrast are added by numerous species of oak, bay, magnolia and other evergreens, whose leaning trunks and larger branches support aerial gardens of vines, ferns and Tillandsias".