Panoramic Photo of Saw Palmetto


When a fire runs through an area where there is a lot of saw palmetto, the plants adapt quickly. They have quick responses to these circumstances. They can re-grow their leaves and flowers very quickly after a fire.

Close up of Saw PalmettoThese plants have done a few things to adapt to their nutrient poor environment. They have in their leaves a thick, almost wholly cutinized epidermis. The leaf has stomata on both surfaces, but can only be in intercostals regions. Also their leaf lamina's are thick. These traits are what helps them to conserve water and use it effeciently.

Serenoa repens adapts to how much light it gets as well. If they have a lot of trees or plants above them they will not get much light.

Above Picture: Karan A. Rawlins, University of Georgia,


When an organism lives in bad conditions, it needs to be efficient in order to survive. One way that saw palmetto stays efficient is by increasing the life span of their leaves.  Saw palmetto has leaves that often grow to be about three feet in length. They have many leaves that are in an elongated shape. They do not get very wide, but as you continue to read below you will find out that they live a long time and this is what makes this organism efficient. It would not be smart for the sawSerenoa repens (Bartr.) Small palmetto to shed its leaves all the time because that would cost them valuable supplies. The plant would waste all the nutrients that it had already put into the existing leaves. This would mean the plant would have to put more of its valuable nutrients into new leaves, which means spending a lot of energy. So, Serenoa repens has adapted to expand the life span of their leaves. When their leaf life span is at the longest, they usually keep them for around three and a half years. If they do not have much above them blocking the sunlight, then the leaf life span can be found to be less than two years.

Clearly these organisms are very good at making do with what they have! Now that they have adapted to meet their environment, check out how they get some nutritious food!

Click Here to go back Home.



Above Picture: Karan A. Rawlins, University of Georgia,