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Any of several shrubby palms chiefly of the southern U.S. and West Indies that have spiny-toothed petioles (leafstalks), especially a common palm (Serenoa repens) of the southeastern U.S., with a usually creeping stem. Saw palmettos make up part of the vegetation found in the Florida Everglades. When undisturbed, they grow into great masses of foliage. The saw palmetto has recently drawn attention as the source of a possible treatment for prostate cancer.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on saw palmetto, visit Britannica.com.