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palm tree man

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I am starting this forum for those that love our native success story the saw palmetto. There is no palm that is more wide spread and that can survive more diverse conditions in the Southeastern United States. In

its own wright it is a cool palm and really deserves more attention despite its slow growing and mostly sub subterranean nature. There are many examples of this palm that craw great distances upon the ground or

that grow underground to another location. It is only when the soil is removed "often sandy" that we realize how large and branching some of these clumps truly are. There are also several distinct varieties which

show different leaf traits.

post-9629-0-91173400-1392440742_thumb.jp

post-9629-0-86936000-1392440751_thumb.jp

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There are some really nice specimens in and around the Daytona area. There is one I saw at Coco too that was like that, it was really huge!

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I've seen a number around here with trunks. Local cities have started planting them in medians and preserving them in parks and landscaping.

When I first visited Orlando from N VA in 1985, I asked a tour bus operator what those short palm-like plants were. He snorted and told me they were weedy saw palmettos that should be eradicated wherever they grew. Fortunately, attitudes about native FL plants have done a 180.

Meg

Palms of Victory I shall wear

Cape Coral (It's Just Paradise)
Florida
Zone 10A on the Isabelle Canal
Elevation: 15 feet

I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus' garden in the shade.

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Those are really nice pics guys, I will try to post some of my habitat pics this weekend. Saw palmetto is a really awesome, hardy palm that deserves more praise.

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The silver form is really nice....the green...not so much IMO. Here they are side by side. post-97-0-35530300-1393297149_thumb.jpg

This giant silver one is right down the street. I will collect seeds this year for trade if anyone is interested.post-97-0-66503800-1393297360_thumb.jpg

David Simms zone 9a on Highway 30a

200 steps from the Gulf in NW Florida

30 ft. elevation and sandy soil

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That one is nice, reminds me of a mazari almost. There are good green forms to me and then some that resemble small leaved sabal minor. There are a few nice ones that trunk and have lush full leaves and some with less vicious spines. I will swap you something for a few.

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Cool....I know you have some interesting seeds.... :winkie: ....I'll let everyone know when they become available.

David Simms zone 9a on Highway 30a

200 steps from the Gulf in NW Florida

30 ft. elevation and sandy soil

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Steve, if you don't mind the green form I might can find you a few.

Thanks for the offer! I'll pass for now though. I have a green one already, and am looking to accent it with a silver one.

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Serenoa repens at Matanzas Inlet, south of Saint Augustine, between the dunes and the Intracoastal Waterway.

DSC_1260.jpg

The second picture is along A1A between Ponte Vedra and Saint Augustine. There had been a brush fire that burned off the palm foliage and it was just reemerging. Horrible mosquitoes there.

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S. repens on Hunting Island, SC near Beaufort, SC:

HuntingIsl3.jpg

S. repens growing in Augusta, GA about an hour north of the northern limit of its natural range. This silver one came originally from near Hobe Sound, FL. It is supposed to be the most silver variety.

DSC_1302.jpg

And an image from PACSOA of S. repens near Sebring, FL (I think):

Serenoa_repensB02.jpg

Joseph C. Le Vert

Augusta, GA

USA

Zone 8

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Those are some really great pics, I saw the last one years ago and was amazed at how tall the exposed trunks were. When I have been around Augusta I have seen them growing all around the Savannah River too which is pretty North for what is thought to be there natural range. You have posted allot of great pics and information. Thank you.

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How old do you think this one is?

post-97-0-86802000-1394073327_thumb.jpg

David Simms zone 9a on Highway 30a

200 steps from the Gulf in NW Florida

30 ft. elevation and sandy soil

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As tall as it is and as slowly as they grow it is hard to say without seeing it more closely but my best guess would be 50 years. Many tall clumps are even said to be well over a hundred years old. They live for a long time.

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Erik that is what most of mine look like. They dominate the undergrowth where they are well estsblished here.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Serenoa repens at Matanzas Inlet, south of Saint Augustine, between the dunes and the Intracoastal Waterway.

DSC_1260.jpg

The second picture is along A1A between Ponte Vedra and Saint Augustine. There had been a brush fire that burned off the palm foliage and it was just reemerging. Horrible mosquitoes there.

DSC_1259.jpg

S. repens on Hunting Island, SC near Beaufort, SC:

HuntingIsl3.jpg

S. repens growing in Augusta, GA about an hour north of the northern limit of its natural range. This silver one came originally from near Hobe Sound, FL. It is supposed to be the most silver variety.

DSC_1302.jpg

And an image from PACSOA of S. repens near Sebring, FL (I think):

Serenoa_repensB02.jpg

That clump is growing on the shore of Lake June (in Lake Placid, Florida). I took that photo and gave PACSOA permission to use it. Also, the late Bob Riffle (who used to live in White City (near Ft. Pierce, Florida) drove over to my house and we went to see these palms. He took some photos of them and they are in his and Paul Craft's book, Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms.

I contacted the president of the local chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, and he measured the tallest palm of this clump. It measured 25 feet tall, with many others in the 22-24 feet range. I had a big post of these palms at this forum 12 years ago. I guess it's scrolled off into infinity now.

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Mad about palms

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I have seen that picture many times and it has always amazed me. It is really an honor to finally get to meet the individual responsible for it. Before this picture I was aware that they trunked and that they even got over ten feet tall, but I had not been aware that they could grow to these titanic proportions if left alone and undisturbed. Truly amazing! Thank you for your post!

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I have seen that picture many times and it has always amazed me. It is really an honor to finally get to meet the individual responsible for it. Before this picture I was aware that they trunked and that they even got over ten feet tall, but I had not been aware that they could grow to these titanic proportions if left alone and undisturbed. Truly amazing! Thank you for your post!

I also went to the News-Sun (Sebring, Florida, newspaper) and they did a photo article on these palms.

Nobody really knows why some Serenoa grow more vertically, while others grow (creep) along the ground. I've heard theories (like reaching for sunlight in a shady location), but many vertical trunking S. repens are in mostly full sun.

I do think, though, that the tallest vertical growing S. repens probably grow in the more southerly portions of their geographic range. That is, tall trunking specimens are probably limited to zone 9B (possibly upper end of zone 9A), as in zone 8 the trunks probably get frozen back on very cold winter years.

FYI: unfortunately, since I took that photo of the Lake June (Lake Placid, Florida) clump -- about half of them have died. Why, I don't have a clue. They are on a vacant lot in a lake front gated community. The crowns have died and and fallen off, and just the trunks remain.

University of Florida literature states that the Serenoa repens only grow about .3 of an inch a year (trunk growth), and less in the coldest part of their geographical range. I totally disagree with the University of Florida. I know empirically that Serenoa repens grows much faster than .3 of an inch a year. I know this because I've grown them from seed and have documented their trunk growth. Also, I've watched (monitored) natural green form S. repens growing on my property, watching them grow from no trunk to 1-2 feet of trunk in less than 15 years. I've found the silver form is even faster.

Mad about palms

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I agree and also feel that they grow faster than most people think. They are still slow growers but just faster than commonly thought. The ones on my property have taken off with just a small amount of a slow release fertilizer and they were here naturally. Is it true that they can live for hundreds of years, i read that somewhere but the source escapes me now. Is the silver form limited to Coastal Central Florida in its range? I have seen them all over Volusia County when I am down there especially all over Daytona all the way down to Ponce.

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Walt, I remember that post ..... I think it was discussed at that time that they could live hundreds of years. The pic I posted is a 20 footer and I would think even at your top rate of 2 ft. every 15 years it would make that palm 150 years old.

David Simms zone 9a on Highway 30a

200 steps from the Gulf in NW Florida

30 ft. elevation and sandy soil

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I think it was a palmtalk post; I can't remember. I used to search the forum all the time but never joined. How are your palms doing buddy? Any more news on anything after our horrible winter?

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I do think, though, that the tallest vertical growing S. repens probably grow in the more southerly portions of their geographic range. That is, tall trunking specimens are probably limited to zone 9B (possibly upper end of zone 9A), as in zone 8 the trunks probably get frozen back on very cold winter years.

Agree 100%, the trunks get taller the further south you go. There are ancient Serenoa in north Florida though. I've seen trunks so long I couldn't tell where they started, out in Apalachicola National Forest. They're not tall because they creep along the ground, rather than growing vertically. Occasionally the trunk will poke up to knee high or so. Since they can grow new roots from the trunk, the original base may have even rotted away, making it impossible to say exactly how old they are.

Growing up in north Florida, where even as a kid you could fairly easily walk through palmetto thickets and see over them, it was shocking when I went camping near Jupiter, FL, and found that the green saw palmetto grew well overhead and was a bit of an impediment to travel. Despite being called saw palmetto, their armament is pretty minimal and in my youth I never got a scratch walking through them. Never saw any snakes either despite constantly being warned about them, probably too shady under there.

Woodville, FL

zone 8b

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These are in St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge and are regularly burned. As you can see, it is no big deal to walk through them, even in shorts. If you have a lick of sense, as my mom would say, you will let the leaves brush against you but avoid the petiole right near the trunk.

DSCN2651a.jpg

Woodville, FL

zone 8b

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I agree a Washingtonia or Livistona Saribus are much, much worse! I have very rarely ever been even minimally injured by a Saw Palmetto and I grew up fishing and hunting the the woodlands, swamps, and marshes of Southeastern and Coastal Georgia. I have some really cool pics of them growing in flood zones and swamps very happily there I might add. They seem to be nearly unstoppable in the Southeast; even brush fires don't bother them.

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That pic reminds me of my place, it is really cool to see Sabal Palmetto, Sabal Minor, and Serenoa Repens all growing naturally together. We are really blessed in our area of the world. My native Sabal Palmetto look just like yours as well. They retain their boot jacks forever it seems; like ladders that you can use to climb to the crown if they would support your weight. It always amazes me at how adaptable the Palmetto really is.

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Here is a population of Serenoa repens in Emmanuel County, GA. It is one of the most northern outposts of Saw Palmetto. This area is about 5' south of I-16, but there is S. repens north of I-16 also. Saw Palmetto has been found in Screven County, GA even further north than this area. I haven't seen the Screven County population personally, but a notable plant explorer told me about it.

DSC_0021-3.jpg

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Joseph C. Le Vert

Augusta, GA

USA

Zone 8

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I have seen them on the around the Savannah River in Screven County and below Macon as well but I can't remember how close to the fall line which is where the Coastal Plain ends and the terrain and climate of Georgia change drastically.

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This topic has been very informative. In Southern California the largest one I have seen is the one Allen Valley has in his garden in Palm Desert, Ca

When looking at rural property in Texas 20 years ago, I saw quite a few growing along stream beds. However, I never knew they grew upright.

Thank you for all the information.

Palm Student

Suzanne Rowlands

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Palm student,

In Texas, you were probably looking at Sabal minor. Serenoa repens does not extend west of extreme southeastern Louisiana.

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  • 9 months later...

Would anybody on this forum know where or who I could get Saw Palmetto Seedlings from?

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