Serenoa repens, the saw palmetto, is the sole currently classified in the Serenoa. It has been known by a number of synonyms, including Sabal serrulatum, under which name it still often appears in . It is a small , normally reaching a height of around 24 m (36 ft). Its trunk is sprawling, and it grows in clumps or dense thickets in coastal lands or as undergrowth in woods or . Erect stems or trunks are rarely produced but are found in some populations. It is to the , most commonly along the and plains, but also as far inland as southern . It is a hearty plant; extremely slow growing, and long lived, with some plants, especially in , possibly being as old as 500-700 years.
Saw palmetto is a (Arecaceae tribe Corypheae), with the that have a bare terminating in a rounded fan of about 20 . The petiole is armed with fine, sharp teeth or spines that give the species its common name. The leaves are light green inland, and silvery-white in coastal regions. The leaves are 12 m in length, the leaflets 50-100 cm long. They are similar to the leaves of the palmettos of genus . The are yellowish-white, about 5 mm across, produced in dense compound up to 60 cm long. The is a large reddish-black and is an important food source for wildlife and historically for humans. The plant is used as a food plant by the of some species such as , which feeds exclusively on the plant.