Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens)
Saw palmetto is a common feature in many southeastern US habitats, and is always present in Florida scrub. The palmetto clump pictured here is the silver form from a scrub on Florida's Atlantic coast. Saw palmetto is a creeping palm with a trunk that lies on or just below the ground surface. Within just 3 days following a fire, palmetto begins to sprout back from its unburned growing tip. Saw palmetto looks a lot like scrub palm, the other low-growing palm in Florida scrubs. See the scrub palm profile to distinguish the two. Saw palmetto berries are an important food for many wildlife species including bears, raccoons, possums, and various insects. The berries also have found a medicinal use for humans in the treatment and prevention of enlarged prostate gland. Within the last couple of years, the unregulated harvest of wild saw palmetto berries has, in some areas, degenerated into a free-for-all, with turf battles and claim-staking reminiscent of the Alaska gold rush.
Read more in Floridata's Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens) profile.