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The Foxtail, Wodyetia bifurcata, is a rare, highly valued tropical palm tree for your garden. It is extremely desirable due to its large, full fronds. It is one of the easiest tropical palm trees to grow, reaching a height of 30 feet. It does well in dry or rainforest conditions, full sun or bright shade, and will tolerate moderate salt exposure. Some folks are even using it as a houseplant.
The fronds are extremely striking. They are a arching, full fronds of pale green color. Each frond has leaflets that radiate out at angles from the leaf stem. This gives the fronds the appearance of a fox's bushy tail, resulting in the common name Foxtail.
A mature canopy is 15 to 20 feet across, and exhibits 8 to 10 fronds at a time. The trunk is slender and columnar, with a slight bottle shape. It is a closely ringed, with a green crown shaft, dark gray at the bottom, becoming almost white at the top.
The flowers are white, and of both sexes. The flower stalk appears at the base of the crown and will produce fertile seeds. The seeds are in clusters of red to orange - red, with each fruit containing a single seed.
Wodyetia bifurcata was discovered in the late 1970's, in an area of Queensland, Australia. It has been listed as an endangered species ever since. An active black market resulted, and thrived until the late 1990's when the nursery trade was legally allowed to offer the Foxtail and seeds for sale. The Foxtail has gained worldwide popularity in this short period of time due to its attractive architecture and its ease of growth.
Foxtail is tolerant of a wide variety of soil and climate conditions. With regular fertilizing using palm fertilizer, and regular watering, the Foxtail will grow at a rapid rate. It is tolerant of light frosts, to 27F. It grows very well in full sun, but will also do well in partial shade. As an inside tree, it does well in brightly lit areas. It has a deep root system that allows it to be very drought tolerant, etc. Care should be taken not to over water it when grown in a container.