Palm Database
Foxtail Palm - Wodyetia bifurcata
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Written by Real Palm Trees   


The foxtail palm tree is the most used landscape palm tree in the world. After being introduced to the Florida growers, the foxtail palm has gain unprecedented popularity, which has lead the foxtail palm to be widely commercially grown through out the south. The Foxtail palm has gain popularity because it is very durable and will tolerate a wide variety of soil conditions. This palm tree of medium stature, is also drought tolerant and very adaptable to many environments. This palm tree will not only enhance the look of any commercial or residential area, but will also create a tropical feel to any environment. The beautiful bushy arching fronds of the foxtail palm will stand out and will serve for multiple uses for outdoor applications. The best aspect of the foxtail palm is that, the foxtail palm very rarely reaches heights over 30 ft. Commercial and residential developments look for this, when designing with palm trees. Maintaining foxtail palm is very easy, since the trunk of the foxtail palm tree is self cleaning. No pruning is needed. I would definitely include this species in your landscape design. The foxtail palm is also great for the pool area, patio, or even a Zen garden oasis. Below I have listed a few "Do It Yourself" tips for planting a palm tree in your next interior design project!

DIY - Landscape Design

There are many places you can plant a foxtail palm tree and still have the same result as if a professional landscape architect designed it. The foxtail palm would only do well in zones 10 and 11. From experience, foxtail palms look great when placed on the corners of houses. They also look great and will compliment your house, if planted in front of the house as an individual palm, or as a multi-headed palm. Another residential landscape design would be to place a triple headed foxtail palm tree in the center of a large window, along with some shrubs and perennials. A row of foxtail palms spaced about 5-8 feet, along the side of the drive way would also be a nice way to add appeal to your home. With out excluding the back yard, infinite of possibilities arise. You may place 3 to 5 foxtail palms along the pool. A row of foxtail palms along side of a fence or wall spaced accordingly would also give you the feel of a tropical oasis. An outdoor business landscape design would be to place foxtail palm trees in a line, either in a bed added to the side walk or in the ground, as part of the side walk. You would then provide a 2' to 3' buffer area for the mulch or other small plants. These are just a few design tips for you to implement.

DIY - Indoor Design

The amazing foxtail palm is usually not used much for interior decorating. How ever, the foxtail palm is still considered an indoor palm. Given the right environment, any palm can flourish in an interior space. For an interior design concept, the main goal would be to find the place your palm tree will go. With the spot picked, you can further decide what pot would fit that area and size of the palm needed. Most likely the palm tree would have to be by a window or an area that receives much natural lighting. The foxtail palm thrives in hot humid air but will tolerate other such conditions. There are infinite variations of pots you can choose to accent the foxtail palm tree. Some variations to consider are the type of material, color(s), pattern(s), and size. If the pot will be visible in your design, than choosing the right pot is critical for your overall appearance of the foxtail palm and your interior design. After choosing the right pot that fits your interior design, place the pot and palm in the location and provide about 1 to 2 foot radius spacing around the foxtail palm. Preventing the leaves from touching any other object will help to reduce browning. I hope these ideas help you on your next interior design encounter with the foxtail palm!

Please, feel free to comment on this article. Any new design ideas, comments, or appreciation is welcomed.

Foxtail Palm Overview:

Foxtail Palm Tree Naming Conventions:

Palm Name: Foxtail Palm - (f-OX-tale) (Palm)
Common Name(s): Foxtail Palm, Fox Tail Palm, Wodyetia palm
Botanical Name: Wodyetia bifurcata - (wod-YET-ee-uh) (by-fur-KAY-tuh)
Synonym(s): Wodyetia bifurcate

Foxtail Palm Tree Plant Classification:

Linnaean Taxonomy SystemLinnaean Taxonomy System:

Superdomain: Neomura Palm Tree Information Theoretical Group
Domain: Eukaryota - (Eu-kary-ote) Palm Tree Information 4 Organisms - Animals, plants, fungi, and protists
Kingdom: Plantae (Plants) Palm Tree Information 3 Groups - Streptophyta (Green Plants), Rhodophyta (Red Algae ), and Glaucophyta (Green Microscopic Algae)
Subkingdom: Streptophyta (also known as Streptophytes, Metaphytes, or Viridiplantae) Palm Tree Information Green Plants
Super Division: Embryophyta (also known as Embryophytes) Palm Tree Information Land Plants
Division: Tracheophyta (also known as Tracheophytes or Tracheobionta) Palm Tree Information Vascular plants - higher plant life
Division: Spermatophyta (also known as Spermatophytes or Phanerogams) Palm Tree Information Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta (also commonly known as Angiosperms) Palm Tree Information Flowering plants
Plant Class: Monocotyledons or Monocots (also known as Monocotyledoneae or Monocotyledones) Palm Tree Information One embryonic seed leaf
Palm Family: Arecaceae - (ar-ek-AY-see-ee)
Palm Genus: Wodyetia - (wod-YET-ee-uh)
Palm Species: bifurcata - (by-fur-KAY-tuh)

Foxtail Palm Tree General Description:

The foxtail palm tree pertains to the tribe of Arecceae, and subfamily Arecoideae. Its native habitat is located in northeastern Queensland, Australia, where it is listed under as a threatened species. The foxtail palm tree was first discovered by an aboriginal bushman named Wodyeti, in the year 1978. Hence, the genus name of Wodyetia. Furca from the species name birfurcata comes from the Latin meaning fork. Bi comes from the Latin as well, meaning two. Together they have a meaning of twice-forked which resembles the fish-tailed leaflets of the foxtail palm. The foxtail palm tree gets its common name from the arching bushy fronds similar to a foxs tail. The foxtail palm tree was later discovered by Australian growers in the year 1984. Rapidly becoming popular, the foxtail palm is now the worlds most popular landscape palm tree. It is a fast growing palm tree, which loves hot arid heat, and humidity. The typical height a foxtail palm can reach is 30 feet. Foxtail palms also adapt very well to a variety of soils but likes dryer sandy soil, thus making it drought tolerant. Enjoys full sun but will tolerate shade. The foxtail palm can also tolerate a bit of cold weather and light frost during the winter season. Its closely ringed, dark grey to light grey trunk is slender and solitary. Reaching maturity around 12 years of age, the foxtail palm has a self cleaning smooth crownshaft that is slightly swollen at the base. The tropical pinnate palm has a full arching crown that has a spread of densely plumose fronds of about 5-10 ft. A flower stalk of white to cream inflorescence or flowers bares from the base of the crownshaft. The fruit of the foxtail palm tree is green when young but turn red when maturing. The seeds are poisonous if ingested. The Foxtail palm has a history of triumph. From the illegally exporting of the foxtail palm seeds to Florida, to the massive boom of commercial growing, to being listed as a threatened species in Australia. It is no wonder, that the foxtail palm has been the number one choice for many growers and consumers.

Foxtail Palm Tree Habitat:

Palm Continent of Origin: Australia
Palm Country of Origin: Queensland
Indoor/ Outdoor: Both
Palm North America Outdoor Hardiness: USDA Zone 10a: -1.1 C (30 F) to USDA Zone 11: above 40 F (4.5 C)
Palm Europe/ UK Outdoor Hardiness: Europe Zone 10a: -1.1 C (30 F) to Europe Zone 11: above 40 F (4.5 C)
Palm Cold Toleration: Approximately 30 - 40F

Foxtail Palm Tree Physical Appearance:

Palm Height: 12 - 30 ft
Palm Spread: 10 - 15 ft
Palm Trunk: Similar characteristics to the king palm; the foxtail palm trunk is also smooth, thin, and self-cleaning. The foxtail palm grows a single, double, or triple trunk that is slightly spindle-shaped to columnar trunk that can reach the heights of about 30 ft. The trunk also has a closely ringed, dark grey to light gray color which slowly turns more and more white. The crownshaft of the foxtail palm is light to bright green and slightly swollen at the base.
Palm Foliage: Variance of greenish colors; deep green to light green colors. Received its name by the appearance of its foliage, which is in a shape of a foxs tail.
Palm Foliage Growth Direction: Grows upward more so than outward.
Palm Flowering: White flowers stalk coming from the base of the crownshaft.
Palm Fruits: Red when ripe. 2 inches long and olive green to green in early stages.
Palm Fruits Edible: The Foxtail palm fruit is not edible
Palm Leaf Type: Pinnate

Foxtail Palm Tree Growth Attributes:

Palm Speed of growth:Fast
Palm Radial Spacing: 5-15 ft
Sun Exposure: Full sun to light shade
Drought Toleration: Moderate to highly drought tolerant
Salt Toleration: Moderate
Bloom Time: Late Spring/Early Summer

European Fan Palm Tree Caring and Maintenance:

Palm Caring: Easy, to maintain and thrive.
Soil: The foxtail palm is adaptable to wide range of soils. Rich deep draining soil is preferred.
Soil Types: Acidic to mildly alkaline
Water: Regularly water soil, and spray leaves and bottom of the trunk for optimal results
Fertilizer: Use 100% organic or organic based fertilizers for best results
Potting and Planting: The Foxtail Palm can be potted and planted in landscapes and in interior surroundings; it requires moderate amounts of soil when potted, enough soil to cover it's roots and the bottom start of it's trunk. Do not bury the foxtail palm tree's trunk inside the dirt or else it will develop trunk rot.

Foxtail Palm Tree Environmental Impact:

The foxtail palm tree is a fast growing palm that is native to Queensland, Australia. Due to the rapid growth of foxtail palms; they make for a fast canopy for understory plants and palms to grow in. Foxtail palms are a recent addition to commercial growers in the southern states of North America, particularly, Florida and southern Texas. The seeds of the foxtail palm were illegally transported to Florida from Australia in the 1980s. In the year 1995, the foxtail palm tree and seeds became legal for exportation from Australia. All in the mean while, being heavily commercially grown for landscape designs of all sorts in Florida and southern Texas; the wild naturally growing foxtail palms are listed as being vulnerable or threatened in Australia to the point of being endangered. The foxtail palm tree is drought tolerant making the palm tree a water conservative. The foxtail palm tree also grows a flowering stem from the bottom of the crownshaft which attracts bees. There are no bad habits, nor any pest or diseases problems that pertain to the foxtail palm. The foxtail palm does not face any near future extinction.

Foxtail Palm Tree Seed, Cultivation, and Propagation:

Palm Seed Size: The average size is 1.5 inches long
Palm Seed Attributes: The foxtail palm seed is deep brown to black in color with a vein-like texture, covered with fibers. The foxtail palm seeds are poisonous if ingested.
Palm Seed Harvesting: Seeds are obtained from within the rip red fruits. The fruits grow plentiful on the stalk.
Palm Seed Propagation: The foxtail palm seeds typically germinate in less than 3 months. But has taken up to one year to germinate. Seeds have a better chance of germinating if the process is done by human intervention.
Palm Seed Shelf Life: One year if treated and stored properly.
Palm Seed and Growing:The foxtail palm can be grown indoors, in the right conditions. Optimal temperature of germination is 80 to 90 degrees F. Added humidity and heat is recommended during cooler months.

Foxtail Palm Tree Nurture and Nature:

Nurture vs. Nature: Typically the foxtail palms thrive when kept under normal natural outdoor conditions, rather than nurturing in a changing foreign environment. Nature will provide the heat and humidity this palm needs to flourish. Nurturing will take effort and can be difficult but not impossible to reproduce.
Palm Transplanting: Transplanting causes little shock if transplanted under the right conditions. The foxtail palm is more shocked if transplanted from field grown to pot and lesser of a shock if transplanted from pot to outdoor transplant hole, given the right conditions. Foxtail palms have deep roots, so a well draining soil is very important. Another important step is digging the right size hole for the roots. The minimum depth of the hole must be twice the depth of the container you are transplanting from. This will give the root ball and roots plenty of room to grow. Give about 1 to 2 feet of cushion for the sides. Overall the foxtail does very well when transplanted.

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