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Saw Palmetto

(Serenoa repens)

A native plant located along the Saylor Trail. It is an evergreen woody shrub or small tree in the Sunflower (Aster) family. They are common along coastal areas and have high salt tolerance. However, they are not restricted to these types of environment and may occur in a wide variety of disturbed, open and moist soil habitats. Groundsels are dioecious. This means that each plant is either a male or a female and each plant produces male/female flowers accordingly. Only the female plants produce the fluffy silvery white flowers late in the fall. The white, hair-like bristles extend beyond the leafy bracts of the female flowers, giving it a cottony or silvery appearance. The bristles also help in dispersing the tiny fruit/seeds. Male flowers are yellowish-green in distinctly rounded spheres. Groundsel leaves are toxic to livestock and the small fruit from the female plant is poisonous to humans. Indigenous people used the leaves to make yellow dye.

Information Provided by the Friends of Barefoot Beach Preserve
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