That's not my property (I wish I had a purty fence like that).
The sabal palm missing it's head has been rustled for it's "cabbage". I'm pretty sure this is a case of tree rustling since the land behind the fence is absentee owner property. It's unlikely that the owner even knows what "swamp cabbage" is. The fact that it's a roadside palm also points to rustling.
You can bet that two Bubbas pulled up quick, late at night with a chainsaw (nobody around to hear it) and decapitated this palm to make a batch of swamp cabbage. The tender white core or "heart of palm" will be chopped up and cooked in a big pot with traditional southern seasonings (bacon) .
The fact that this tree was almost certainly stolen leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth ... worse than swamp cabbage.
Unlike other nonpalmy trees, there will be no resprouting.
The issue of tree thievery aside, I still don't see the appeal of swamp cabbage.
I just don't get it and I can be pretty Bubbaesque at times. Swamp cabbage doesn't even taste that good and to waste a whole palm for a nostalgic meal ... "Yo' Granpappy loved his swamp cabbage ..."
It's not like cabbage (sabal) palms are endangered or even scarce. They are very common. I have dozens of nice ones at PFHQ and bazillions of baby ones sprouting all over the place. They are slow growers though and it seems a shame to kill a fine ten year old palm like this one, just for the top bud.
Would I be so palm protective if I actually liked swamp cabbage? Ahhh ... that is the question.
Perhaps I would be planting them like crazy to sustainably harvest them, but we exist in the real world where the taste of swamp cabbage is not worth the loss of the palm so mine are not on the menu.
But that's just me ... eat 'em if you got 'em.
But don't steal them.