Skip to Content

Serenoa – Wikipedia

« Back to Glossary Index

– Taxonomy:
– Sole species in the genus Serenoa
Genus name honors American botanist Sereno Watson

– Distribution and habitat:
– Endemic to subtropical and tropical Southeastern United States
– Most common along south Atlantic and Gulf Coastal plains and sand hills
– Grows in clumps or dense thickets in sandy coastal areas
– Undergrowth in pine woods or hardwood hammocks

– Description:
– Erect stems or trunks rarely produced
– Hardy, slow-growing, and long-lived
– Fan palm with leaves having a bare petiole
– Leaves armed with sharp teeth or spines
– Flowers yellowish-white, produced in dense compound panicles

– Ecology:
Fruit is a large reddish-black drupe
– Important food source for wildlife and historically for humans
– Used as a food plant by larvae of some Lepidoptera species
– Saw palmetto fibers found in materials from indigenous people
– Leaves used for thatching by several indigenous groups

– Medical research:
– Studied as a possible treatment for prostate cancer
– Studied for men with lower urinary tract symptoms
– Insufficient scientific evidence for effectiveness in treating cancer or BPH
– Saw palmetto extract may be effective for relieving BPH-induced urinary symptoms
– Widely traded material among indigenous people prior to European contact

« Back to Glossary Index