A Tribute to Saw Palmettos
Wikipedia is almost never a resource for us here, but I must admit I was interested in the name of this plant, and found no information from our usually mentioned resources. I discovered over there that 'Serenoa' was used as a way of honoring the American botanist, Sereno Watson, who otherwise had nothing whatsoever to do with the plant as far as I could discover. 'Repens' is latin for "unexpected, or surprised." And so I was. Surprised. I had expected the name to tell something about the plant!
|Serenao repens, saw palmetto in a yard|
Here is a sequence of the marvelous blooms we are seeing at this point in the year. The blooms are tightly closed at first.
|The branch of blooms is called an inflorescense|
|close up of blooming saw palmetto|
|the tiny flowers begin to open|
|the sprays of blooms are lovely additions in springtime|
Palmettos also provide significant cover and food for a number of birds and other wildlife - turkeys, deer, bear among them. They are easy, easy to keep in a landscape, with a high tolerance for drought once established. In natural areas, palmettos are kept free of vines, such as muscadine, by periodic fires. If you have palmettos in a kept-garden, you will have to act like a fire every so often to keep
vines from covering the palmetto. Some people like to maintain these plants by scalping them thusly:
|naked saw palmettos|
|straight across: it's a saw palmetto|
|persisting up into the leaf: it's a sabal palm|
|saw palmetto composition by Nature|