Overview

Distribution

Saw-palmetto is endemic to peninsular Florida and the coastal plains
from southeastern Louisiana to southern South Carolina [10,19].

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Occurrence in North America

AL FL GA LA MS SC

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Ala., Fla., Ga., La., Miss., S.C.
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Serenoa repens, saw palmetto, is endemic to coastal plains from South Carolina to southeastern Louisiana including the Florida peninsula. Saw palmetto occurs in every county of Florida. It is common throughout the Indian River Lagoon area in both scrub and upland communities.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the terms: perfect, shrub, tree

Saw-palmetto usually grows as a small shrub with creeping, horizontal,
many-branched stems. Occasionally it grows as a small tree with erect
or oblique stems. As a shrub, it grows to a height of 2 to 7 feet
(0.6-2.1 m). As a tree, it may reach 20 to 25 feet (6.0-7.5 m). In its
procumbent form, saw-palmetto branches form a tangled mass, with the
root crown projecting above to support the foliage. The stem systems
run parallel to the soil surface, eventually branching beneath the
substrate to form rhizomes.

Saw-palmetto leaves are fan-shaped, evergreen and about 3 feet (1 m)
wide. The petioles are armed with sharp spines, giving saw-palmetto its
common name. The white, perfect flowers are borne on stalked panicles
that grow from the leaf axils. The fruit is a fleshy, elipsoid drupe,
which is green or yellow before ripening but becomes bluish or black as
it matures [10,15,26,32].

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Description

Stems usually creeping, branched, sometimes ascending, to 1--3 m. Leaves yellow-green, green, or silvery green, stiff; petioles finely to strongly serrate; hastula present on both sides of leafabaxially and adaxially. Flowers creamy white, fragrant, 4--5 mm. Fruits ripening from green through orange to black, length ca. 2 cm, diam. 1 cm. 2n = 36.
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Size

Maximum growth of established trees occurs during the summer rainy season, when up to 80% of annual production is accomplished from April through October (Olson and Barnes 1974). Estimates of stem growth range from 0.04 inches per year in Georgia to approximately 0.1 inch per year in Florida (Tanner et al. 1996). By using these estimates, Tanner et al. (1996) reported that some plants could be as old as 500 - 700 years.Three to seven leaves are produced each year, and these may remain on the tree for as long as 2 years. Palmate leaves may measure 1 m (3 feet) in width (Tanner et al. 1996).Serenoa repens attains a height of 0.6 - 2.1 m (2 - 7 feet) as a shrub, 6 - 7.5 m (20 - 25 feet) as a small tree. Its height is dependent upon the habitat it is grown in, with shrubs more common in scrublands, and trees more common in maritime hammocks and uplands.
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Corypha repens W. Bartram, Travels Carolina, 61. 1791; Brahea serrulata (Michaux) H. Wendland; Chamaerops serrulata Michaux; Corypha obliqua W. Bartram; Sabal serrulata (Michaux) Nuttall ex Schultes & Schultes f.; Serenoa serrulata (Michaux) G. Nicholson
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Look Alikes

Lookalikes

Serenoa repens may be confused in the field with some low-growing species of Sabal palms, but Serenoa repens petioles (leafstalks) are covered with many tiny prickles and the leaves lack the prominent extension of the petiole along some or much of the length of the leaf that is evident in Sabal. Everglade Palm (Acoelorrhaphe wrightii) has green flowers (rather than white) and larger, stouter, usually curved orange prickles on the petiole. (Petrides 1988)

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat characteristics

More info for the terms: shrub, tree

Saw palmetto grows in a humid, subtropical to warm-temperate climate
[19]. Within its range, the average annual rainfall is 39 to 64 inches
(100-163 cm). The average maximum and minimum temperatures range from
97 to 25 degrees F (36 to minus 4 deg C) [41].

Saw palmetto usually grows on dry, very well-drained soils [2,30], and
avoids swamps and poorly drained river terraces [10]. Preferred soils
are "sterile" [30] and have very little mineral or organic content, as
typified by fine quartose sands [5]. Soil descriptions are not
ablsolute. Saw palmetto may also grow on peaty [40] and poorly drained
sites [15].

Saw-palmetto is a common understory shrub of Southern pine flatwoods,
growing on the Miami rock ridge pinelands, the dry pineland portions of
Big Cypress National Preserve, and commercial plantations [9,35,40].
Elsewhere, it is a codominanant in hardwood- and conifer-dominated scrub
communities [4,8,26,37]. In the Everglades region, saw-palmetto is the
most common understory shrub in high hammocks and forms a characteristic
ring around cypress (Taxodium spp.) heads and burnt-over tree islands.
[11,31,37,40]. Strand, dry prairies, and southern oak (Quercus
spp.)-pine (Pinus spp.) types indicate other sites where saw-palmetto
might be common [8,35].

Common overstory associates include slash pine (Pinus elliottii), south
Florida slash pine (P. elliottii var. densa), pond pine (P. serotina),
longleaf pine (P. palustris), sand pine (P. clausa), loblolly pine (P.
taeda), and cabbage palmetto (Sabel palmetto). Understory associates
include gallberry (Ilex glabra), scrub live oak (Quercus virginiana var.
geminata), scrub oak (Q. chapmanii), myrtle oak (Q. myrtlifolia),
shrubby rosemary (Ceratiola ericoides), scrub palmetto (Sabel etonia),
scrub mint (Conradina grandiflora), blazing star (Liatris tenuifolia),
pawpaw (Asimina reticulata), scrub clover (Petalostemon feayi), ground
blueberry (Vaccinuim myrsinites), and dodder (Cassytha filiformis)
[4,21,30,41].

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Habitat: Cover Types

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This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

69 Sand pine
70 Longleaf pine
71 Longleaf pine - scrub oak
72 Southern scrub oak
74 Cabbage palmetto
83 Longleaf pine - slash pine
84 Slash pine
105 Tropical hardwoods
111 South Florida slash pine

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Habitat: Ecosystem

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This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

FRES12 Longleaf - slash pine
FRES13 Loblolly - shortleaf pine
FRES14 Oak - pine
FRES15 Oak - hickory
FRES16 Oak - gum - cypress
FRES41 Wet grasslands

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Habitat: Plant Associations

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This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

K079 Palmetto prairie
K080 Marl - everglades
K090 Live oak - sea oats
K092 Everglades
K112 Southern mixed forest
K115 Sand pine scrub
K116 Subtropical pine forest

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Pinelands, dunes, sand pine scrub, mesic hammocks and woodlands, plants colonial, often forming dense stands in the understory; 0--50m.
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Depth range based on 4 specimens in 1 taxon.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0.5 - 0.5
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Trophic Strategy

Autotrophic.Competitors: Serenoa repens seedlings are susceptible to competition from other scrub and upland plants (Hilmon 1969).Habitats: S. repens is a characteristic component of pine flatwoods, prairies, scrub, and live oak-sea oats communities. It is a prominent indicator of in poorly drained soils in pine flatwoods (Tanner et al. 1996).It generally grows best in dry, well-drained soils rather than in swampy areas (Monk 1965; Abrahamson 1984b). Typical soils are high in quartz and fine-grained, but this species is also known to grow on poorly drained sites high in peat (Breininger and Schmalzer 1990).Saw palmetto grows best in warm-temperate, or humid-subtropical climates. Average rainfall within its range is approximately 100 - 163 cm (39 - 64 inches) per year, and average temperatures range from -4 to 36? C (25 - 97 ? F) (Wade and Langdon 1990). This species grows well in either shade or in sun (Duncan and Duncan 1988), and is a common member of fire-climax communities (Wade et al. 1980; Taylor, and Herndon 1981).It is a common understory shrub in coastal strands and in oak-pine communities. In scrub communities, saw palmetto provides habitat for sand skinks, the Florida mouse, and the threatened Florida scrub jay (Austin 1976). Its fruit provides food for black bear and white-tailed deer. In upland communities such as palmetto prairies, saw palmetto is primary habitat for burrowing owls, caracaras and sandhill cranes (Callahan et al. 1990).
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Associations

Plants associated with saw palmetto commonly include overstory varieties such as slash pine (Pinus elliottii), pond pine (P. serotina), longleaf pine (P. palustris), sand pine (P. clausa) and cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto). Understory associates include live oak (Quercus virginiana), myrtle oak (Q. myrtlifolia), pawpaw (Asiminia reticulata), scrub mint (Conradina grandiflora) and gallberry (Ilex glabra) (Monk 1965; Austin 1976; Wade and Langdon 1990).Florida wood rats, wild turkey and white-tailed deer are all known to use palmetto as cover or for nesting (Tanner et al. 1996). In addition to black bear and white-tailed deer, feral pigs, raccoons, foxes, deer, and gopher tortoises all utilize saw palmetto fruit for food. Black bear and feral pigs also eat apical meristems (heart) of the plant (Bennett and Hicklin 1998).
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Population Biology

Saw palmetto is one of the more common shrubs in the scrub areas bordering the Indian River Lagoon. It is also highly abundant as an upland tree.Locomotion: Sessile.
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General Ecology

Fire Management Considerations

More info for the terms: fire suppression, flame length

Saw-palmetto is well adapted to fire, making it difficult to control.
It can be held in check using fire, but it remains vigorous and recovers
[40,22]. Very short fire-rotations (1 to 3 years) perpetuate
saw-palmetto understories and kill pine seedlings on palmetto-prairies
which might otherwise support well-stocked pine stands [40]. Summer
fires are most effective at removing saw-palmetto top-growth [18].

The effects of fire suppression on saw-palmetto depends on the plant
communities it occupies. Fire suppression may decrease saw-palmetto
cover in scrub communities where other understory hardwoods can overtop
it. In contrast, suppression, long rotations, and light fires cause
Southern pinelands to become overgrown with saw-palmetto [7].

Overgrown saw-palmetto understories constitute fire hazards, which
promote wildfires that may kill pine seedlings and saplings [8,40].
Tall saw-palmetto understories also carry wildfires into the overstory,
killing mature trees [33,36]. Saw-palmetto is the largest contributor
to understory fuels in the Florida pinelands [36].

Consult Ward [42] to predict particulate matter emmision rates from
fireline intensity and flame length for prescribed fires in the
saw-palmetto-gallberry type. Saw-palmetto foliage yields 2,150,000
calories per pound (4,800 dcCal/g) and is 34 percent ash [21].

To maintain fruit production for white-tailed deer, Fults [13]
recommends burning saw-palmetto understories every 3 to 5 years.

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Broad-scale Impacts of Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: adventitious, cover, density, prescribed fire

Recovery of burned saw-palmetto stands is rapid. Cover may return to
preburn levels in as little as 1 year [1,19], and plants burned in
November can sprout a fully expanded leaf by January [20]. Generally,
winter-burned stands recover faster than summer-burned stands because of
the longer period of growth before the next winter dormancy [1]. The
1st year after a fire, stem density can be higher than preburn levels
because of adventitious sprouting [27]. Two or three years later, the
stand thins itself and density and crown coverage become equal to
preburn conditions [20].

Burning reduces flowering and fruiting [19], possibly by causing
saw-palmetto to exhaust its carbohydrate reserves in the regeneration
effort. Recovery of carbohydrate reserves may take a year [20] or
longer [23].

Frequent burning may favor the procumbent growth form over the erect one
[38].

This Management Project Summary provides information on prescribed fire
and postfire response of plant community species including saw-palmetto:
Fire effects on 3 subtropical invasive plants in Florida and the
Caribbean—-Natal grass, common bamboo, and white leadtree

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Plant Response to Fire

More info for the term: density

Saw-palmetto responds to fire by resprouting immediately [8,18,19].
Drawing on carbohydrate stores in the rhizomes, it initiates leaf
production and vegetative reproduction, increasing stem density [20].
The response is so strong that winter-burned saw-palmetto will break
winter dormancy and produce leaves and fruit out of season [1,19].

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Immediate Effect of Fire

Saw-palmetto has very flammable foliage [33]. Most fires defoliate and
top-kill it [1,3]. Saw-palmetto rhizomes survive most fires. Unusually
severe fires may consume the soil's organic layer and/or sufficiently
expose and heat the rhizomes to kill them and prevent regeneration
[8,38].

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Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the terms: caudex, root crown

survivor species; on-site surviving root crown or caudex
survivor species; on-site surviving rhizomes

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Fire Ecology

Saw-palmetto is exceptionally fire resistant [10] and thrives on
frequently burned sites. It survives fire by resprouting from
persistent root crowns and rhizomes [1,2].

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Regeneration Processes

More info for the term: competition

Vegetative: Saw-palmetto sprouts from horizontal stems and rhizomes.

Sexual: Saw-palmetto flowers are insect pollinated. Extensive wildlife
use of saw-palmetto fruit suggests that its seeds are animal dispersed.
The fruit endocarp and seed coat are impermeable to oxygen. Germination
may be delayed 4 to 6 months while these tissues deteriorate [19]. The
soil characteristics required for germination are unknown.

Seedling growth and early development are slow. Establishment requires
2 to 6 years. Flooding prevents establishment on wet sites, and
saturated soils retard seedling root development during the summer rainy
season. Seedlings are vulnerable to competition, drought, and fire
[19].

In the nursery, saw-palmetto may be propagated by seed. Ripe fruit can
be collected by hand-picking or by cutting the fruit-bearing panicle,
and seeds extracted with a macerator. Commercial sources of
saw-palmetto seeds are often available. Seeds with the micropyle cap
removed will germinate in 11 days; those with the micropyle cap intact
may require 45 to 60 days. Dried seeds average 1,080 per pound
(2,376/kg) [32].

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: geophyte, phanerophyte

Undisturbed State: Phanerophyte (nanophanerophyte)
Undisturbed State: Phanerophyte (microphanerophyte)
Burned or Clipped State: Cryptophyte (geophyte)

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Life Form

More info for the terms: shrub, tree

Tree, Shrub

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Successional Status

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A common understory species, saw-palmetto is shade tolerent and grows in
both sunny and shaded habitats [10]. It is a prominent member of
several Southern fire-climax communities and is a frequent invader of
very dry [40] or frequently burned [37] habitats.

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

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Saw-palmetto blooms between April and July [10,19,32]. Maximum spadix
initiation begins after the danger of frost is past and may be
stimulated by rising temperatures. The fruits ripen in September and
October. Maximum saw-palmetto growth occurs during the summer rainy
season, achieving 80 percent of annual production between April and
October [8,14,32].

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Flowering/Fruiting

Flowering spring.
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Reproduction

Saw palmetto grows vegetatively from horizontal stems and rhizomes. Sexual reproduction occurs via seeds. Flowers of Serenoa repens are pollinated by insects, and bloom from April through July (Hilmon 1969; Olson and Barnes 1974). Fruits ripen from September through October and are dispersed by animals (Olson and Barnes 1974).Seedlings grow slowly, with plants becoming fully established after 3-6 years. Saturated soils that occur throughout the summer rainy season retard early growth. Flooding is a major preventative of establishment (Hilmon 1969).
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Growth

Germination may take as long as 6 months, as the fruit endocarp and seed coat must first deteriorate due to its impermeability to oxygen (Hilmon 1969). In laboratory studies, Hilmon (1969) found germination rates of approximately 55%; but field planting of seeds produced much lower rates of only 19.5%. It has been suggested that seed germination is enhanced by being passed through animal digestive tracts (Tanner et al 1996).
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Serenoa repens

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Serenoa repens

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 5
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure

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Management

Management considerations

More info for the terms: competition, cover, forbs, fuel

Saw-palmetto is a pest and fire hazard in Southern timber stands. It
contributes large amounts of combustible fuel to forest understories and
competes with pines (Pinus spp.) for moisture, nutrients, and space
[3,21].

Silvicultural and range management objectives often call for
saw-palmetto control. Centuries of open range, abusive burning, and
excessive grazing have converted many flatwood-bluestem (Andropogon
spp.) ranges into flatwood-saw-palmetto ranges [18]. Saw-palmetto
control releases palatable grasses and forbs for livestock and deer, and
reduces competition with conifers [13]. Mist-blower applications of the
herbicide 2,4,5-T provide effective control [19,23], especially when
used in conjunction with prescribed burning [3] or other defoliation
treatments [23]. Following defoliation by fire or mechanical treatment,
saw-palmetto should be sprayed when new shoots appear (approximately 6
months later) [38].

Saw-palmetto does not regenerate well following mechanical removal [5].
Mechanical disturbance which dislodges, uproots, and cuts saw-palmetto
stems and rhizomes provides effective control [19]. Roller-drum
choppers pulled in tandem at offset angles [13] or perpendicular to each
other [28] may reduce saw-palmetto cover by 90 percent 2 years after
treatment [13]. Chop-rest-chop rotations provide continued range
maintenance [18].

When wildlife or cover management goals require saw-palmetto
enhancement, use rock phosphate fertilizer [28] or site drainage [40] to
increase cover.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Uses

Uses: MEDICINE/DRUG

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Other uses and values

A drug called serenoa can be derived from the partially dried, ripe
fruits of saw-palmetto and used to treat bladder, prostate, and urethra
infections. Bees collect nectar from the flowers to produce honey [32].
Saw-palmetto leaves provide thatch and Christmas decorations. Saw
palmetto stems are a source of tannin acid extract and can be processed
into a cork substitute [32,38].

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Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

More info for the term: reclamation

Saw-palmetto can be used for watershed protection, erosion control, and
phosphate-mine reclamation [6].

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Cover Value

More info for the term: cover

Saw-palmetto provides security cover for white-tailed deer in Florida's
pine flatwoods [13].

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

Although occasionally eaten by cattle, saw-palmetto has little value as
livestock forage and is a rangeland pest [18,19].

Saw-palmetto helps provide primary habitat for the wildlife of southern
Florida's palmetto prairies. Distinctive species include the crested
caracara, the Florida burrowing owl, and the Florida sandhill crane [6].
As a member of scrub communities, saw-palmetto provides essential
habitat for sand skinks, the Florida mouse, and a variety of birds,
including the Florida scrub jay--a threatened subspecies [4]. Black
bears feed on saw-palmetto fruit [17] and the young shoots which sprout
after winter fires in the Florida flatwoods [16]. White-tailed deer
also eat saw-palmetto fruit, especially during dry years [13].

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Wood Products Value

Saw-palmetto stems provide crude logs and have been used for pulp,
although the quality of the paper produced is poor [32,38].

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Benefit in IRL: S. repens is an ecologically important species that provides nesting, protective cover and an important food source to other species of birds and mammals (Tanner et al. 1996).At archaeological sites throughout central Florida, saw palmetto, sea grape (Cocoloba uvifera), and cocoplum (Chrysobalanus icaco) are all ubiquitous (Bennett and Hicklin 1998). Saw palmetto appears to have been one of the most important food sources for Florida's pre-Columbian population, for the later Miccosukee and Seminole tribes, and for subsequent settlers such as the Spanish during the sixteenth century. Even as late as the early 1900s, pioneers used saw palmetto berries to make soft drinks (Bennett and Hicklin 1998).The medical value of S. repens has been reported since the 1800s (Hale 1898 in Tanner et al. 1996). Bennett and Hicklin (1998) reported over 50 medicinal uses of saw palmetto extracts for illnesses ranging from whooping cough to alcoholism.S. repens has previously been used to produce pulp for paper products, but it is considered to be of poorer quality compared with other tropical species (Olson and Barnes 1974).Of significant importance is a drug called Serenoa, marketed as Permixon®, which is extracted from partially ripened, dried fruits of saw palmetto. This drug has been successfully used to treat, prostrate swelling, bladder infections and urinary tract infections. In prostate disorders, extracted Serenoa repens compounds inhibit the enzymes responsible for conversion of the male hormone testosterone to DHT, dihydrotestosterone, a hormone that binds to receptor sites on prostate cells, and adversely affects gene transcription and the regulation of biological responses in these cells (Plosker and Brogden 1996). In urinary tract disorders, treatment of men with S. repens compounds helped reduce urinary frequency, increase urinary flow, and improve symptoms of dysuria (painful urination).
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Wikipedia

Serenoa

Serenoa repens, commonly known as saw palmetto, is the sole species currently classified in the genus Serenoa. It has been known by a number of synonyms, including Sabal serrulatum, under which name it still often appears in alternative medicine. It is a small palm, growing to a maximum height of around 7–10 ft (2–3 m).[3] Its trunk is sprawling, and it grows in clumps or dense thickets in sandy coastal lands or as undergrowth in pine woods or hardwood hammocks. Erect stems or trunks are rarely produced but are found in some populations. It is endemic to the southeastern United States, most commonly along the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal plains, but also as far inland as southern Arkansas. It is a hardy plant; extremely slow growing, and long lived, with some plants, especially in Florida where it is known as simply the palmetto, possibly being as old as 500–700 years.[4]

Saw palmetto is a fan palm, with the leaves that have a bare petiole terminating in a rounded fan of about 20 leaflets. The petiole is armed with fine, sharp teeth or spines that give the species its common name. The teeth or spines are easily capable of breaking the skin, and protection should be worn when working around a Saw Palmetto. The leaves are light green inland, and silvery-white in coastal regions. The leaves are 1–2 m in length, the leaflets 50–100 cm long. They are similar to the leaves of the palmettos of genus Sabal. The flowers are yellowish-white, about 5 mm across, produced in dense compound panicles up to 60 cm long. The fruit is a large reddish-black drupe and is an important food source for wildlife and historically for humans. The plant is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species such as Batrachedra decoctor, which feeds exclusively on the plant. This plant is also edible to human beings, but the more green it is the more bitter tasting it would be.

The generic name honors American botanist Sereno Watson.

Medical Use[edit]

Main article: Saw palmetto extract
Saw palmettos beneath the larger evergreen canopy in the Apalachicola National Forest in Florida

The fruits of the saw palmetto are highly enriched with fatty acids and phytosterols, and extracts of the fruits have been the subject of intensive research for the symptomatic treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

Numerous meta-analyses of clinical trials S. repens extract in the treatment of BPH have found it safe and effective for mild-to-moderate BPH compared to placebo, finasteride, and tamsulosin[5][6] Two larger trials found the extract no different from placebo.[7][8] An updated meta-analysis including these trials found that saw palmetto extract "was not more effective than placebo for treatment of hyperplasia."[9]

S. repens extract has been promoted as useful for people with prostate cancer. However, according to the American Cancer Society, "available scientific studies do not support claims that saw palmetto can prevent or treat prostate cancer in humans".[10]

Ethnobotany[edit]

Indigenous names reported by Austin[11] include: tala (Choctaw); cani (Timucua); ta ́:la (Koasati); taalachoba ("big palm", Alabama); ta:laɬ a ́ kko ("big palm," Creek); talco ́:bˆı ("big palm," Mikasuki); talimushi ("palmetto's uncle," Choctaw), and guana (Taino, possibly). Saw palmetto fibers have been found among materials from indigenous people as far north as Wisconsin and New York, strongly suggesting this material was widely traded prior to European contact.[12] The leaves are used for thatching by several indigenous groups; so commonly so that there is a location in Alachua County, Florida named Kanapaha ("palm house").[13] The fruits may have been used to treat an unclear form of fish poisoning by the Seminoles and Bahamians.[14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Serenoa repens (W. Bartram) Small". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 1997-05-22. Retrieved 2010-04-12. 
  2. ^ Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  3. ^ "Conservation Plant Characteristics for Serenoa repens". 
  4. ^ Tanner, George W.; J. Jeffrey Mullahey; David Maehr (July 1996). "Saw-palmetto: An Ecologically and Economically Important Native Palm" (PDF). Circular WEC-109. University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service. 
  5. ^ Wilt T, Ishani A, Mac Donald R (2002). Tacklind, James, ed. "Serenoa repens for benign prostatic hyperplasia". Cochrane Database Syst Rev (3): CD001423. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001423. PMID 12137626. 
  6. ^ Boyle, P; Robertson C; Lowe F; Roehrborn C (Apr 2004). "Updated meta-analysis of clinical trials of Serenoa repens extract in the treatment of symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia". BJU Int 93 (6): 751–756. doi:10.1111/j.1464-410X.2003.04735.x. PMID 15049985. 
  7. ^ Bent S, Kane C, Shinohara K, et al. (February 2006). "Saw palmetto for benign prostatic hyperplasia". N. Engl. J. Med. 354 (6): 557–566. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa053085. PMID 16467543. 
  8. ^ Dedhia RC, McVary KT (June 2008). "Phytotherapy for lower urinary tract symptoms secondary to benign prostatic hyperplasia". J. Urol. 179 (6): 2119–2125. doi:10.1016/j.juro.2008.01.094. PMID 18423748. 
  9. ^ Tacklind, J; MacDonald R; Rutks I; Wilt TJ (April 2009). Tacklind, James, ed. "Serenoa repens for benign prostatic hyperplasia". Cochrane Database Syst Rev (2): CD001423. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001423.pub2. PMC 3090655. PMID 19370565. 
  10. ^ "Saw Palmetto". American Cancer Society. 28 November 2008. Retrieved 13 September 2013. 
  11. ^ Austin, DF (2004). Florida Ethnobotany. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. ISBN 978-0-8493-2332-4. 
  12. ^ Whitford AC (1941). "Textile fibers used in eastern aboriginal North America". Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History 38: 5–22. 
  13. ^ Simpson, JC (1956). A Provisional Gazetteer of Florida Place-Names of Indian Derivation. Tallahassee: Florida Geological Survey. 
  14. ^ Sturtevant, WC (1955). The Mikasuki Seminole: Medical Beliefs and Practices. Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms. 
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Notes

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The range of this species extends from Beaufort, Jasper, Colletin, and Charleston counties, South Carolina to St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. Reports of it from Arkansas, North Carolina, and Texas are in error. 

 Two or three leaf-color morphs are found in Serenoa (A. D. Hawkes 1950). The green type is more widespread, and the glaucous or blue-gray type seems to be more abundant in coastal sites of southeastern Florida. Serenoa repens forma glauca Moldenke was described as differing from the typical form of the species in having glaucous leaf blades (H. N. Moldenke 1967). Since a type specimen for S. repens is lacking, it is impossible to know if Moldenke’s form differs from the type. The genetic basis for these color differences is not understood.

Serenoa repens apparently is pollinated by bees. Flowering and fruiting are not necessarily annual events, and some years see more abundant flowering than others (J. B. Hilmon 1968). Even when flowering is abundant, fruit production is erratic (D. Smith 1972); the causes are quite unknown. When fruits are present, they are eagerly sought by black bears (D. S. Maehr 1984; D. S. Maehr and J. R. Brady 1984), white-tailed deer (R. F. Harlow 1961), raccoons, foxes, opossums, and various birds (J. B. Hilmon 1968). 

 Serenoa fruits are the source of a steroidal drug that inhibits the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, which binds to receptors in the prostate gland and in hair follicles (B. C. Bennett and J. R. Hicklin, in press1998). This inhibition is the biochemical basis for the use of Serenoa extracts in treating benign prostrate swelling and baldness. Bennett and Hicklin provided a complete review of the uses of Serenoa in traditional and modern medicine, as well as its use as a fiber and thatch plant.

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Economic Significance

This plant is noted for its ability to effectively treat benign prostatic hyperplasia and many other medical uses. Additionaly, Serenoa repens' petiole fibers are used by the Seminoles of southern Florida to make dolls.

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

The currently accepted scientific name for saw-palmetto is Serenoa
repens (Bartr.) Small (Palmea or Arecaceae) [10]. There are no
recognized subspecies, varieties, or forms [24].

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Synonyms

Serenoa serrulata Nichols.

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Common Names

saw-palmetto

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