Florida’s Saw Palmetto plants are defined as “Commercially Exploited Plants”. Florida Statute 581.185 (c) makes it illegal from for any person to harvest Saw Palmetto berries without permission of the property owner and a permit.
Florida Statute 581.185 (d) requires any person transporting for sale selling or offering to sell Saw Palmetto from the persons own property, must have a permit from the Department of Agriculture.
A native plant harvesting permit is required from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) prior to the harvest of Saw Palmetto Berries. According to the Naples Daily News, in August 2019, southwest Florida has seen an increase in illegal Saw Palmetto berry harvest arrests.
The unwary berry picker is at risk for arrest and prosecution of a First-Degree Misdemeanor.
KNOW BEFORE YOU PICK:
* Harvesting saw palmetto berries in Florida requires a permit from the FDACS.
* A permit application must be approved by the FDACS before you can begin harvesting saw palmetto berries.
* Review of the permit application may take up to 14 business days.
* An approved permit is valid for one year from the date of issuance and a new permit application must be submitted each year.
* If approved, your permit will be sent to you by email. If you did not include an email address on your permit application, the approved permit will be mailed to you.
* There is no limit to the number of berries you can harvest unless stipulated by a landowner.
* Permission must be granted to harvest.
* Your permit must be in your possession at all times when you are doing any activity associated with harvested saw palmetto berries.
* A bill of lading and a copy of the harvester’s permit is required for buyers and transporters of the berries.
* For questions about saw palmetto berry harvesting, you can contact the FDACS Services at 1-888-397-1517; DPIHelpline@FreshFromFlorida.com.
WHAT IS A SAW PALMETTO PLANT?
The Saw Palmetto is a slow-growing palm tree with fan blades that grow quickly. Its ripe fruit is used to make medicine. Saw palmetto blooms from April to July, producing white flowers on stalked panicles that grow from the leaf axils. Fruit develops from fertilized flowers. The 1-inch ovoid fruit ripens from September to October and resembles blue-black grapes. Saw palmetto grows wild in Florida's natural areas, but it's also a useful plant for home landscapes throughout the state. This native plant tolerates a range of conditions and provides textural interest beneath new or established trees. And its highly salt-tolerant, making it ideal for coastal gardening.
Saw palmetto is most commonly used for decreasing symptoms of an enlarged prostate. Saw palmetto is also used to prevent complications from prostate surgery, regulate testosterone, decrease inflammation, improve urinary tract function and prevent hair loss.
How does it work?
Saw palmetto doesn't shrink the overall size of the prostate, but it seems to shrink the inner lining that puts pressure on the tubes that carry urine. Saw palmetto also might prevent testosterone from being converted to a more potent form of testosterone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). It is thought that some types of hair loss are caused by increased sensitivity of hair follicles to DHT. Reduced levels of DHT may help prevent these types of hair loss. It also contains antioxidants that may reduce inflammation.
The Saw Palmetto berry has a long history of medicinal use. The Mayans crushed the berries and drank them as a tonic; the Seminole Indians used them as an antiseptic; and, in the Far East, berries are believed to be a powerful aphrodisiac. Saw Palmetto was first introduced into western medicine in the 1870’s.
$$ Money $$
Saw Palmetto harvesting is big business. The price of harvested berries fluctuates between $1.60 and $3.00 per pound in Florida. Numerous companies process the raw berries into powder and sell it for upwards of $38.00 per pound. Extract sells for over $10.00 per ounce and packaged capsules sell for various prices in the vitamin section of many retailers. Saw Palmetto is also sold and exported outside of the United States.