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The foxtail palm (Wodyetia bifurcata) is named for its dramatic pale green arching fronds whose leaflets radiate out at all angles from the leaf stem, giving it the appearance of a fox's tail. When mature, they have a canopy of 8-10 leaves - each one looking like a fox's tail - and a foliage crown 15-20 ft across. They have a slender, closely-ringed bottle shaped trunk that grows up to 30 ft tall. The foxtail palm has white blossoms of both sexes at the base of its crown; a single palm is capable of producing fertile seeds. They produce colorful clusters of red to orange-red fruit, each containing just one seed.

Originally found amongst rocks and boulders in northeastern Queensland in Australia in the Melville Range, near Bathurst Bay on the Cape York Peninsula. Foxtail palms grow in loose, sandy, granitic soils among enormous granite boulders. The climate in this area of Australia is tropical with a prolonged dry season. Foxtail palm has recently become a very popular ornamental in the southern parts of Florida, California and Texas (USDA Zones 10 - 11). They were introduced into the American horticultural trade in 1985, and are currently considered endangered in Australia.

Foxtail palms are exceptionally hardy and easy to grow, tolerating a wide variety of well drained soils, including alkaline limestone soils and rocky sands. Under good conditions they have been known to grow 2-3 ft/year! Additionally, they tolerate light frost, rarely attract pests and disease, and are resistant to lethal yellowing.

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Supplier: Bob Corrigan

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