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Saw Palmetto Serenoa repens


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Family: Arecaceae, Palm view all from this family

Description Small fan palm growing in clumps or dense thickets. Trunk sprawling. Erect stems or trunks rarely produced. Leaves light green to silvery-white, have a bare petiole terminating in a rounded fan of about 20 leaflets having fine, sharp teeth or spines that give the species its name. Teeth or spines are easily capable of breaking the skin, and protection should be worn. Flowers yellowish-white, about 5 mm across, produced in dense compound panicles up to 60 cm long. Fruit large reddish-black drupe.

Dimensions Height: 1.8-3.6 m. (6-12 ft.).

Habitat Scrub, shrub & brushlands, Beaches & shorelines, Grasslands & prairies.

Range Texas, Florida, Southeast.

Discussion The sole species currently classified in the genus Serenoa. Known by a number of synonyms, including Sabal serrulatum, under which name it still often appears in alternative medicine. Extremely slow growing, and long lived, with some plants possibly being as old as 500-700 years.

The fruits and extracts of the fruits have been the subject of intensive research for the treatment of urinary tract infections. This extract is also commonly used for other medical conditions. Early studies of Sereno repens in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia were encouraging, suggesting good tolerability and "mild to moderate improvement in urinary symptoms and flow measures.".