Wodyetia bifurcata

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Wodyetia (woh-dye-SHE-ah) bifurcata (by-foor-KAH-tah)
Wodyetia outside zoo.jpg
Pana'ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens. Hilo, Hawaii.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Wodyetia (woh-dye-SHE-ah)
Species: bifurcata (by-foor-KAH-tah)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Height: 50 ft/15m
Trunk diameter: 10 in./25cm
Survivability index
Common names
Foxtail palm

Habitat and Distribution

The foxtail palm is endemic to a remote area in Queensland, Australia on the Cape York
Pana'ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens. Hilo, Hawaii.
Peninsula where they grow in rocky and flooded scrubland. Usually found in sandy, acidic soils, they grow from sea level to 400 m in elevation.

Queensland, Australia, N.E. Queensland, confined to the southwest, south and southeast sides of Melville Range, latitude 14˚ 17' S, longitude 144˚ 28' E. Biology And Ecology: Wodyetia occurs in open woodland communities consisting of rain forest elements in coarse, loose granite sand, among huge granite boulders, with the main canopy being the palms themselves. Other tree species associated with it are low forms of Ficus obliqua, F. benjamina (semi-creeping), Buchanania arborescens, Polyalthia nitidissima, Myristica insipida, Diospyros reticulata var. ferrea, Cryptocarya bidwilli, and vines Capparis sp., Cissus sp. It extends 1-2 km, downstream, along open forest creeks at the foot of the granite boulder hills. Here it may be found amongst Eucalyptus polycarpa, E. drepanophylla, Cochlospermum gillvrayei and Bombax ceiba forest. It appears to be absent from dense closed forest communities in the area. In these communities the palm Archontophoenix alexandrae is a prolific upper canopy species. Altitude range is 60-400 m a.s.l. Climatic conditions have a strong seasonally dry component, with drought stress likely to be significant for six months of the year. Annual rainfall is reckoned to be about 1400-1600 mm, confined mainly to 3-4 months of the year, DecemberMarch (Summer Wet). Mature fruit is present in October-December, open flowers are likely to be found in DecemberFebruary. Seed germinates in 2-3 months, coinciding with the wet season, but sporadic germination continues for at least 14 months. (Irvine, A. 1983)


Key Characters of Wodyetia bifurcata: Stem slightly bottle shaped, primary pinnae regularly arranged, divided into as many as 11-17 segments. Margins of segments ribbed. Stamens 60-71, filaments and stylodes lacking scales. Mature fruit orange-red, ovoid-globose, 49-57 mm long, 27-37 mm wide, excluding calyx, but including remnant stigma 8-10 mm long. Mesocarp flesh orange-yellow when ripe. Outer endocarp with strongly forking, flattened, tough black fibers. Seed terete, around 32 mm long, 22 mm wide. Seed "shell" covered with wavy, slightly depressed, longitudinally tending fibrous lines, some forking. Endosperm homogeneous. (Irvine, A. 1983).


Wodyetyias have proven highly adaptable, and are grown in suitable climates all over the world, in places as varied as Miami, Los Angeles, Bermuda, Durban, Honolulu, Sydney, Auckland, Cape Town and Corsica.

In Southern California, Wodyetias are best started in the ground from relatively large plants, the bigger the better. Little baby plants will survive, but often disappoint. Full sun is best, plus well-drained soil. No ph issues known. Once established will grow fast, though not as fast as in more humid climates.

PFC for PP.png

Comments and Curiosities

Etymology: Wodyetia is a monotypic genus of palm tree named for 'Wodyeti', the Australian aborigine who introduced the plants to cultivators and the epithet for its only species bifurcata is Latin for 'twice-divided'.

They are endangered in their natural habitat and collecting the seeds is prohibited.

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.

Special thanks to Palmweb.org, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos.

Glossary of Palm Terms; Based on the glossary in Dransfield, J., N.W. Uhl, C.B. Asmussen-Lange, W.J. Baker, M.M. Harley & C.E. Lewis. 2008. Genera Palmarum - Evolution and Classification of the Palms. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. All images copyright of the artists and photographers (see images for credits).
Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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