Panoramic Photo of Saw Palmetto


Saw Palmetto in its typical environmentWhere does Saw Palmetto live?

Saw palmetto can often be found in the Southeastern United States. It is common along the Gulf Coast of Mexico in places like Florida. However, it can even be found as far north as Georgia.   In relation to other organisms, palmetto's are usually on the ground floor under the canopy of trees.  This means that they do not receive a lot of sunlight.  To adapt to their niche they have evolved. One way that they have done this is by increasing the amount and size of their leaves. 

Above Photo by William Moss

Saw Palmetto with Canopy AboveSaw palmetto is a small plant that has been nicknamed a dwarf plant.  Serenoa repens does not grow very tall. One reason for this is because of the habitat in which it lives. 

These plants adapt by creating as much surface area as possible for the light to strike their leaves. As you can see from the pictures, there can be many leaves on one plant and they can grow pretty long. To learn more about cool ways Serenoa repens has changed to meet the habitat it lives in, check out the Adaptations page!

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

Some consider it North America's most abundant palm. It is extremely resilient, can survive through low water conditions and loves to live in places where fires occur often.  The soil around them is often acidic and does not have a lot of nutrients.

Saw Palmetto and Fire

Serenoa repens is often found in fire danger areas as well. One of the reasons is because Serenoa repens is very flammable and as you can see in the picture, if one starts on fire it could easily spread to others. FireThis makes it a problem for fire control in places like Florida and other southwestern states.

Even though its leaves are so flammable, saw palmetto is very resistant to fire, but no worries! It can re-sprout and grow back very well.

If a fire sweeps through an area with saw palmetto in it, this resilient organism will often be one of the first to grow back. This can be a problem though if too much of it grows back. It can make it hard to control.


Above Picture: Dale Wade, Rx Fire Doctor,

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