Saw Palmettos

Saw palmetto berries are illegal to harvest without a permit.

Last year, the Florida Department of Agriculture began requiring permits for harvesting saw palmetto berries, making it a misdemeanor to pick the berries without a permit.

Since the new requirement went into effect in July, there have been some additional changes, of which the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office reminded the public in a blog post Monday.

Some of the changes are listed below:

When applying for the permit, the property owner information and contact

  • number will need to be submitted with the application on the second page.
  • When led by a crew leader as a day worker, the pickers do not need permits, but the crew leader does. The names of the day workers do not need to be listed on the permit.
  • There is still no fee for the permit. It may take up to 14 days for processing and issuance of the permit.
  • Berries cannot be harvested until the permit is in the possession of the harvester.

Three people have been charged with harvesting the berries illegally in Charlotte County since the new law and others have been issued warnings. Permits are valid for one year from the date they are issued, and a new permit application must be submitted each year.

The Department of Agriculture lists the complete requirements on their website, including a FAQ section.

Saw palmetto berries are used in dietary supplements for urinary symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate gland, though there is no scientific evidence of their effectiveness, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

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