Serenoa Hook.f.

This genus is accepted, and its native range is SE. U.S.A.

One species in the southeastern USA.
Leaf (Tomlinson 1961), roots (Seubert 1997), floral anatomy reported by Morrow (1965) to be similar to that of Acoelorrhaphe.
General Description
Moderate, clustered, shrubby, armed, pleonanthic, hermaphroditic palm. Stem subterranean or prostrate and surface creeping, or rarely erect, covered with persistent leaf sheaths, axillary buds developing as either inflorescences or vegetative suckers. Leaves induplicate, palmate, marcescent; sheath expanding into a tattered mat of dark brown fibres; petiole flat to slightly rounded adaxially, rounded to angled abaxially, margin armed with numerous small teeth; adaxial hastula conspicuous, ± rounded, membranous, abaxial hastula semicircular, often split, membranous; blade nearly orbicular, regularly divided to below the middle into narrow stiff, shortly bifid, single-fold segments, glabrous except for scattered caducous scales along the ribs, midribs conspicuous abaxially, transverse veinlets conspicuous, rather distant. Inflorescences interfoliar, erect and about equaling the leaves but often hidden by them, curved, branched to 3(–4) orders; peduncle slender, flattened, rather short; prophyll tubular, 2-keeled, with 2 triangular apical lobes; peduncular bract 1 or lacking, tightly sheathing, caducously tomentose; rachis longer than the peduncle; rachis bracts like the peduncular bract but decreasing in size distally; first-order branches with a short 2-keeled prophyll; subsequent bracts small, membranous; rachillae spreading, densely tomentose, bearing spirally arranged, small, irregularly cleft bracts subtending solitary or paired flowers. Flowers with tubular calyx of 3 triangular, slightly imbricate lobes; corolla tubular, split to 2/3 its length into 3 lobes, valvate, inconspicuously grooved adaxially; stamens 6, filaments borne at the mouth of the corolla tube, gradually tapered, not inflexed, anthers erect in bud, elliptic, dorsifixed, somewhat versatile, latrorse; carpels 3, basally distinct, united in the attenuate stylar region to a narrow stigma, ovule anatropous. Pollen ellipsoidal, usually slightly asymmetric; aperture a distal sulcus; ectexine tectate, finely perforate, perforate and micro-channelled, or perforate rugulate, aperture margin slightly finer; infratectum columellate; longest axis 31–44 µm; post-meiotic tetrads tetrahedral or tetragonal, rarely rhomboidal [1/1]. Fruit ellipsoidal to subglobose, dark blue to black at maturity, abortive carpels basal, stigmatic scar apical or subapical; epicarp smooth, mesocarp fleshy without fibres, endocarp thin but somewhat cartilaginous. Seed basally attached with elongate raphe, endosperm homogeneous with a shallow lateral intrusion of seed coat;embryo lateral towards the base opposite the raphe. Germination remote-ligular; eophyll entire, plicate. Cytology: 2n = 36.
Common in pinelands, prairies, and coastal sand dunes, often forming dense swards.
Thicket forming hermaphroditic fan palm with creeping, highly branched stems, occurring in pinelands, prairies and sand dunes in southeastern USA.
Saw palmetto.

Regarded as a pest in the wild. The glaucous form is much prized as an ornamental. Fruits contain a bioactive ingredient, used in the treatment of benign prostate cancer and as a health supplement for men.

Native to:

Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina

Serenoa Hook.f. appears in other Kew resources:

First published in G.Bentham & J.D.Hooker, Gen. Pl. 3: 1228 (1883)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R. & Dransfield, J. (2005). World Checklist of Palms: 1-223. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.


Palmweb - Palms of the World Online

  • J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008

  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

  • Palmweb - Palms of the World Online

    Palmweb 2011. Palmweb: Palms of the World Online. Published on the internet Accessed on 21/04/2013
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