The Florida Everglades is known for its diversity of plant and wildlife, including the iconic saw palmetto. Putting down roots in the Florida Everglades is not easy, but somehow the Saw Palmetto thrives in the glades unique conditions. Perhaps it is because the Saw Palmetto, a fan-shaped palm, is so hardy itself. The long-living plant produces leaves that have fine, sharp teeth and are capable of breaking the skin, hence the name “saw.”
The saw palmetto takes up residence in Everglades’ hammock and pineland scrub areas, which are known for their porous soil. Though they are trees, saw palmettos rarely grow upright; instead their trunks grow horizontal to the ground, and the plant grows in clumps along the ground.
Saw Palmettos Provide Food and Cover for Wildlife
While uniquely beautiful with it’s silver-green, slow-growing, fan-shaped fronds, the saw palmetto serves an important purpose for the wildlife of the Florida Everglades. The plant’s fruit, sometimes called the “swamp grape” feeds a variety of animals, and even, historically, humans.
The black bear relies heavily on the fruit, which resembles dark blue grapes, and it also eats the plant’s young shoots. In dry times, the fruit is vital eating for white-tailed deer. There are certain moth larvae that feed only on the Saw Palmetto.
In addition to use as a food source, a variety of animals use the plant for cover because it has such dense growth. Birds including the endangered grasshopper sparrow and the Florida scrub jay seek protection in palmettos. The Florida burrowing owl, sandhill crane, and the crested caracara also take refuge amongst its leafy fans.
See Saw Palmettos on an Airboat Ride in Fort Lauderdale
Because of its marshy makeup, exploring the Everglades is not easy, but we get you close to the action with our airboat rides. The unique design of airboats makes it so you can see the Everglades’ and the Saw Palmetto up close and personal. Call Captain Bill of Cypress Outdoor Adventures at 954-260-1096 to set up your tour and adventure today.