Welcome to the Palmetto State! The palmetto is the state tree of South Carolina, and beautiful examples of this tree can be seen all across the state, lining the streets and gracing otherwise dull parking areas. For many people the palmetto is the very image and feeling of the low country. This tree is a monocot, which means it is more grass like than tree like. Monocots include grass, corn, and palms and palmettos, and these plants do not produce hardwood.
Palm trees grow taller than palmettos, and produce a different fruit. The trunks develop differently, with palms growing vertically and palmettos growing horizontally. The palmetto produces berries, and the palm has a hard coconut for its fruit. The palmetto is very important to the history of South Carolina, and for this history it is found on our state flag and is the state tree.
During the revolution, British war ships attacked the nearly unfinished Ft. Moultrie. The front of the fort had been quickly covered with palmetto logs, which turned out to be a blessing. The logs didn’t splinter when hit by cannon balls, but instead the soft wood absorbed them. The British were repelled, and the Ft. was named after its commander, William Moultrie. The Palmetto was added to the state flag in honor of this event.