Saw palmetto is the common name for a small palm tree that comes from the southeastern United States and the West Indies islands. The Latin name for saw palmetto is Serenoa Repens. You might here it called some other names as well such as the American dwarf palm tree, sabal, or palmetto scrub. Its most likely called the Saw Palmetto because of its leaf stems that look like saw blades.
What Does Saw Palmetto Look Like?
The plant can be found from Texas to South Carolina while central Florida has gained the reputation as being the largest supplier of saw palmetto. The plant usually grows in large clumps many times reaching one hundred or more. The large leaves of the saw palmetto plant are fan shaped and are approximately two feet wide while each plant has three to seven leaves. The average shrub is about 3 to 9 feet high but many times the stem will run along the ground horizontally and the actual plant will not be that tall.
Saw Palmetto Berries
The white flowers of the saw palmetto produce the green berries in the springtime which when ripe turn black. The berries grow in bunches and are around a half inch in diameter. The ripe berries are picked and dried and then crushed into a powder form. Then another process is used to remove the lipophilic extract which is what is believed to have medicinal benefits. The extract is usually put into pill or capsule form as a final step in the process.
There is another small palm shrub that looks similar to the Saw Palmetto and that is the Cabbage Palm. It is fairly easy to tell the difference between the two however as the saw palmetto has thorns on the stem while the cabbage palm does not. The cabbage palm stem also protrudes up into the leaf like a spear while the saw palmetto stem end abruptly where the leaf starts.