The Sabal mexicana palm is native to the Texas Rio Grande Valley and Mexico and offers up a stately, tropical appearance. S. mexicana has large prominent costapalmate leaves divided about 1/3 the length of the leaf, arching strongly downward along their costa and deeply folded, giving the leaf a natural curving arch that helps protect against wind. The leaf stalks are robust, holding up a large frond with deep green, large leaf segments, with bifid, drooping tips.
As a group, Sabals are readily distinguished from other palms by their split bases that turn a whitish grey with age and form an attractive crisscross pattern along the trunk. However, there is much confusion when it comes to identifying a species within the genus. The S. mexicana when compared to the S. Riverside specimens at the Grove have several distinguishing traits. The most obvious among them being a fruit and seed more than double the size of the Riverside palm. The trunk of the Mexicana is also a bit narrower that the S. Riverside, with a slightly slower rate of vertical growth. The persistent leave bases and petioles are a darker shade of green, and the fibrous sheaths between the split leaf bases is darker in color, more spindly, loose handing fibers, whereas the S. Riverside sheaths appear tightly woven, have a lighter red hue and a tidier look. The leaf bases of the S. Riverside are a lighter shade of green and more quickly lose their green pigment when cut, whereas the S. Mexican leaf bases tend to hold a deep green hue for longer after cut.