Saw palmetto berry picking season is back again in Southwest Florida. But if you have plans to harvest with the intention to sell the medicinal berry, you’ll need a permit.
If you’re caught harvesting and selling saw palmetto berries without a permit you could face a 2nd-degree misdemeanor up to a 3rd-degree felony.
On July 17, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services implemented a new rule for harvesting and selling saw palmetto berries.
The agency made the decision after the Endangered Plant Advisory Council placed the saw palmetto palm on the Department of Agriculture’s commercial exploited list.
Saw palmetto berries, which are a source of food for black bears, is highly sought after by the diet supplementary and pharmaceutical industries. The FDA describes the extract of saw palmetto berries being used for “treatment of common, age-related, prostatic hyperplasia.”
The height of saw palmetto berry harvesting season runs from August through October. People are making a profit by harvesting these berries and selling them by the pound. Prices start at $0.10 per lb. and can go as high as $3 per lb., according to several saw palmetto tree growers.
This year the price per pound might increase because many saw palmetto trees were dried out from the drought or were damaged by Hurricane Irma.