Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens)
Saw Palmetto, or Cabbage Palm, is a multi-trunked, clumping palm that grows low to the ground with a spreading habit at 5'-10' high by 4'-10' wide. It is a native of the southeastern United States and is often used in local landscaping as a border plant, ground cover, or hedge. Bees and butterflies visit the fragrant yellowish-white flowers, which are a source of delicious palmetto honey, and birds and mammals enjoy the ripe berries.
Its foliage is fan-shaped and green to bluish-silver with saw-toothed stem edges. Indigenous people of the southeastern U.S. eat the ripe fruits, and they are also sold as a supplement for urinary issues, migraines, and hair loss. Some believe that the berries are an alternative cure for prostate cancer, so to preserve the plants from being over-picked, anyone in Florida wanting to harvest the berries must get a native plant harvesting permit issued through the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Division of Plant Industry (DPI).
Saw Palmettos prefer sandy soil but are tolerant of many soil types as long as they are well-draining. They grow well in full sun to partial shade and need to be watered well when young after planting. Once established, they are slow-growing, tough, long-lived plants that are fire, insect, and drought resistant. They make excellent horticultural plants in the Southeast, but it is well to plant them away from high-trafficked areas so their spiny foliage can't cause injury. Saw Palmettos are hardy in USDA zones 8+