Native Palms of Florida

Native Palms of Florida

Title

  • Native Palms of Florida

Published Date

  • published 1940

Transcript

[page 5]
of palmetto instead of pine logs because bullets and cannon balls sank into the
spongy wood and did not do as much damage as in the case of more brittle
woods. Fort King near the present site of Ocala was a palmetto stockade.

Varieties in Northern Section: There are only about four native palms in
the northern section of Florida. These are the cabbage, saw and dwarf
palmettos and the needle, or porcupine, palm. The others for the most part are
confined to the keys and extreme southern portion of the State. Native palms
and palmettos are often confused with domesticated species brought in from
elsewhere.

In the dry pinelands of north Florida, the saw palmetto is the prevailing
undergrowth. Originally a native of swamps, its reclining serial root saved it
from being washed away and helped it to invade the higher grounds where it
met a new enemy in the form of forest fires. But the saw palmetto soon
adapted itself to those changing conditions. The long, exposed roots buried
themselves in the sand, putting forth smaller roots along the underside of the
thick root stem and sending forth circular fan-shaped fronds. Thus, when the
base of the plant dies, the bud pushes ahead to form new plants.

Saw palmetto is more or less general throughout Florida. It is usually
found as a shrub with twisted recumbent stalks but specimens sometimes are
found with erect or reclining stems. The leafstalks are armed with numerous,
sharp spines. It grows along