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Serenoa repens (Saw palmetto)
Cressler, Alan

Serenoa repens

Serenoa repens (W. Bartram) Small

Saw palmetto

Arecaceae (Palm Family)

Synonym(s): Brahea serrulata, Corypha repens, Serenoa serrulata

USDA Symbol: sere2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

The fan-shaped leaves of this evergreen shrub may be 3 ft. or more across, with harsh, saw-like teeth, or spines, along the petiole. Leaf color ranges from silvery-white or cloudy, blue-green to green. The shrub, usually 10-12 ft., is much-branched horizontally and occasionally becomes a small tree. Small, white, fragrant flowers occur on plume-like branched stalks from leaf axils. Fruit are orange to black when mature.

The Saw Palmetto is a member of the family Arecaceae, the palm family, which includes evergreen trees and shrubs and sometimes vines. Stout or sometimes slender unbranched trunk, not divided into bark and wood and not increasing in diameter. About 2500 species worldwide in tropical and subtropical region;S. 11 native and 1 naturalized tree species and 2 native shrub species in North America; many others southward.


Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf: Yellow-Green
Size Class: 12-36 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul


USA: AL , FL , GA , LA , MS , SC
Native Distribution: SC to FL & LA
Native Habitat: Pinelands; hammocks; sand dunes; savannas

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Part Shade
CaCO3 Tolerance: None
Soil Description: Well-drained or seasonally water-logged soils.
Conditions Comments: Not Available

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Serenoa repens is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Palmetto Skipper
(Euphyes arpa)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA


Description: Propagation by seed is a slow process.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Native Plant Nursery - Sanibel, FL

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS


Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Serenoa repens in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Serenoa repens in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Serenoa repens


Record Modified: 2014-09-05
Research By: TWC Staff

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