One of the few palmettos that seems to prefer somewhat higher altitudes and does not occur on the plains at sea level. In its native range in central Mexico, it is found at elevations between 600 and 1300 m (2000 and 4300 ft.), growing in a zone between dry deciduous forest and oak forest. Like many Sabal, it also thrives on cultivated land, where it is tolerated because its large leaves are useful for thatching. It is a large, imposing species with a big crown of strongly costapalmate leaves, supported by a comparatively slim trunk to 20 m (66 ft.) tall, which is covered with the old, split bases of fallen leaves in younger trees. One of the most obvious distinguishing characteristics of this palmetto is the size of its fruits and seeds, which are considerably larger than those of any other species in the genus. The fruits are edible with a date-like flavor. The Royal Palmetto adapts easily to cultivation and does well in most temperate climates. It is resistant to drought and, despite its home in the mountains, can take some coastal exposure. Botanically, Sabal pumos has many unspecialized features and may be a relict that has been conserved in the hills of central Mexico since the last ice age, when the cold forced many plants to retreat further south towards the tropics.