The Saw Palmetto Tree, scientific name Serenoa repens or Sereno repens, is one of the most cold hardiest palm trees that can tolerate cold down to 0F, making it a perfect palm for landscape in USDA zones 7-11. The Saw Palmetto is also known as Silver Saw Palmetto Palm and Scrub Palm.
Serenoa repens is a small hardy palm that can grow up to 7-10ft tall but usually doesn’t exceed 2-4ft. It can spread up to 20ft or more in diameter. It grows as a shrub with stems occurring below the ground or runs along the ground, creating a dense ground cover. Stems gradually bury to form rhizomes. Stems sprouted from rhizomes can measure 10 to 15 feet in length. Occasionally, it develops erect or arching trunk that is covered with old leaf bases.
Each clump has about 20-25 large palmate, fan shaped, leaves, that are supported by 2ft long, petioles. Stems are armed with very sharp spines, hence the name Saw Palmetto Palm. Leaves are evergreen, stiff, about 3ft across, covered with waxy film, with 18-20 leaflets. The common Saw Palmetto has green leaves but there are some silvery-green leaved types as well.
During spring the Saw Palmetto Palm produces small, yellow-white, fragrant flowers that are growing in dense clusters. Flowers are supported by 3ft long branched inflorescence emerging from the leaf bases. The Saw Palmetto Palm flowers are a great source of a commercial high-grade honey. Flowers are followed by yellowish green fruits that gradually turn blue-black as they ripen August through October. Fruits are small, berry-like, oval and fleshy. These berries are an important food source for many mammals and birds. The berries have been used for medicinal purposes helping to treat some prostate and urinary problems.
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