Press Bulletin No. 49.
Saw Palmetto Ashes.
By 11. K. MILBin.
Thr,. exists a wide difference of opinion as to the
value of ashes obtained from saw palmetto roots. This is
in record with results shown )by the (lifferelt namlyses
which have been reported from time to time. In order to
throw more -light on this question aInd arrive at fthe ren-
sOns why tier is such variiation in the analyses that haive
heon Lpublished, the writer determined to have analyses
nade of fresh roots gathered from Iill-i t sections of
t.he st.at. Three localities are represented the sample
,from Bradentown was furnished through the kindness of
Mr.'A, T. Cornwell, that from Miami through the kind-
ness of Mr. P. H. Rolfs, the third sample was obtained
near the laboratory in Lake City. The roots were cut in
to thin sections, dried and converted into ash in the a1 .
May 1st, 1904.
orator. '.i'ii. pjieetti ge t ash o itoellN d i. the dilltjiuit
.smples is givenl iln the following table.
ASh FROM dMA\1V PALMETTO ROOTS.
Bradentown. Miami. Miami. Weathered. Lake City.
Per cent. of asl: 4.20, 2.80,). 2.77, 5. 1.
It. ap ears from tlhe above that the quantity of miln-
'rail Imatter to ie foulld ill this plant depends upon the
character of the soil in which it grows. There is such va-
riatioll in the soluble constituents of Florida soils that
it, would have been well to have aln aralyis imaide of tllh
soils in which tlhes roots grew, but this phase of tilh init-
ter was not considered until it was too lnt(. Satimlels of
soil from Manatee county have bei shliown to (contain
from two to four per cent. of soluble matter, Lake City
soils from three to six per cCent. of soluble matter and
Dade county soils from one to two and onne-half per 'cent.
of soluble matter. This is very much in accord with the
percentage of aslh found in the roots taken 'lroi tlhes lo-
Below is given, inl tabitlar form, the composition of
the ash obtained from the different t samples of palmletto
roots. The analyses were made by Mr. A. W. HiBir. of
the Station Statif.
COMPOSITION OF ASHES FRO()M SAW PALMETTO.
Locality. Blradentown. Miami. Miami,(weathered) Lake City.
Per cent. Percent. Per cent. Per cent.
Sand a ind Silica ............... 1.384. ..... 4.20. ...... .... ............ .. 21.006
L im e. CaO ................. 2.5(0 ...... 6.274 .......... ............ ... 2.095
M agnesia., M gO................ 2.0:13..... 5.515 .......... ................ .)293
Potash. KI23........ ..... .. 2 ..3 873..... ... 129.t .9................ 5.450
Soda. N aO ................ .. 18.170 ..... .248 .......... .. 5.5) 2
Sulphur Trioxide.... .. .Trace...... 2.70. ....... . . ...- 1.156
Chlorine ........... ............ 1.550 ..... 6.34( ........... . ... .... I.
Phosphoric acid. PI20O ...... 38,0(01 ...... 5.735........ 1.9 ) ................18.10
Iron Oxide. Fe203 ..... . . .51.- ...... ... . ....
A study of the a hove figures together with the cotm-
lositioni of the soils, taken from the counties in which
the plants were grown is interesting, but it would lend
too far to make a detailed study in an article of this
kind, and would hardly prove profitable, in as much
as the soils in the inlediate vicinity were not analyzed.
It 1mu14st be noted, however, that the lime, potash, and phos-
phoric acid in the sample from Miami reflect the char-
aeteristics of the soil at -this place, which is extremely
deficient in phosphoric acid. is somewhat better supplied
with potash an1d has a eorali formation of limestontl just,
under the surface. The other specimens were grown in
soils comparatively free from lime, and contain a, very
much smaller alimount of this constituent. On the other
Ihand, the potash in the. Bradentown sample. is only
about one-third that in the others. This deficiency is
offset. by a high pwreenttag of s0odinm oxide. The phos-
phoric necid in this sallmple is nearly seven times that of
the Miami sample and more than twice that of the Lake
City %i-ample. The high percentage of potash both in the
Miami and Lake City samples is quite reinmarkable. The
most striking feature of the ashes from the saw palinetto
is thlie very high percentage of soluble plant food in the
material. The phosphoric acid is present in the form of
alkaline phosphates which are readily soluble in water.
If we assign the usual fertilizing value of the plant food
elements, we find tlat a ton of ashes from the Braden-
town roots will be worth sonllewhat more than $50. Ashes
from the Miami root are worth about $4, a ton and that
from the Lake City root nearly $54. It must be noticed
that the ash from tlhe weathered Miami root is worth on-
Iv about $i1 a ton. It will be safe to concluded that con-
siderable loss of plant food takes Ilce whlie the rots are
exposed to the weather. We must not lose sight of the
fact that the amnoint of ash yielded by the saw palmetto
root is comparatively small, and it is questioiable wheth-
er it would pay to dig the roots merely for the ashes
which they yield; but there are large quantities of roots
dug in clearing up fresh land, and if these are protected
from the weather until thoroughly dry Mnd then reduced
to ashes, the fertilizing value of the ashes so obtained
will do much to offset the cost of clearing. It might he
stated'in this connection that a large amount of valuable
fertilizing constituents is lost where palmetto root is used
as a source of tannic acid. Some process may possibly
be devised by which these fertilizing elements n11m he
turned to profitable account.
r;. .stt..,l paper, p'Re si copy.