Stems usually subterranean. Leaves 4--10, dark green, weakly costapalmate, little if at all curved, not bearing fibers between segments; hastula obtuse, 0.8--4.7 cm; segments not filiferous, 34---84 ´ 1.4--3.7 cm; apices weakly if at all bifid2-cleft. Inflorescences sparsely branched with 2 orders of branching (not counting main inflorescence axis), erect, much longer than leaves. Flowers 3.5--5.2 mm. Fruits brownish black, spheroid, length 6.2--8.5 mm, diam. 6.4--9.7 mm; pericarp thin. Seeds 3.5--5.1 mm, diam. 4.4--6.9 mm diam. 2n = 36.
Flowering spring--summer. Mesic hammocks, floodplains, levees, river banks, swamps, but occurring on much drier sites in west-central Tex.; ca. 10--600 m; Ala., Ark., Fla., Ga., La., Miss., N.C., Okla., S.C., Tex.; Mexico.
Previously thought to be endemic to the United States, this species was only recently found in Nuevo León, Mexico (D. H. Goldman 1999).
Sabal minor is usually a small palm with a subterranean trunk; however, one can find individuals with larger features and well-developed aerial stems. In Louisiana, these individuals were recognized as separate species (J. K. Small 1929; M. L. Bomhard 1935), but more recently they have been treated as merely ecological variants of a single widespread species (A. Henderson et al. 1995; P. F. Ramp and L. B. Thien 1995; S. Zona 1990). Large emergent forms of S. minor were even thought by B. J. Simpson (1988) to be hybrids of that species with S. palmetto, but his claim is undocumented and unsubstantiated.
An unusual habitat for this species, a dry hillside in central Texas, was illustrated by L. Lockett (1991).