Native Palms of Florida

Native Palms of Florida


  • Native Palms of Florida

Published Date

  • published 1940


[page 6]
the coastal plains from Florida to South Carolina and as far west as Louisiana.
The fruit was an important aboriginal food, and the berries are still used in

Palmetto berries were used for medicine by the Indians and placed in
wine by the early Spanish settlers. They were known as "Minorcan plums" in
old St. Augustine from the fact that they were soaked in wine and served as
delicacies by the Minorcans.

The Dwarf Palm: The needle or porcupine palm, known as the dwarf
palm, is similar in some respects to the saw palmetto. The trunks of both
usually slant somewhat, although sometimes they are erect. The slender trunk
of the porcupine palm is loosely covered with rough fibre. Clustered leaves
grow erect from the recumbent trunk. The slender leafstalks are only about
three and half feet tall. Sharp, black spines project from the fibre around the

This dwarf palm grows in moist, shady places throughout northern and
central Florida. It is distinctive in that is has no relatives in the western
hemisphere. All kindred species are found in southeastern Asia. In earlier
geological times its range must have been extensive throughout America,
although it is now restricted to a limited area in the southeastern portion of the
United States.

It is a very ancient form of plant life and doubtless one of the plants on
the verge of becoming extinct through natural causes.