Friday, March 6, 2009

Puerto Rico -- Foxtail Palm

I was lucky enough to spend the snowstorm last week on the beautiful beaches of Puerto Rico and ambling through the streets of Old San Juan. I know some people prefer the winter, but I think they're just crazy.

Anyway, I'll be posting some of the plants I encountered there in the upcoming week.

I've only worked on a few tropical landscape design jobs, and I haven't lived in the tropics since a four year stint in Malaysia from '81-85. But it's funny the way you can pull up these vague hints of memories and make them take a fuller shape...

It didn't take long before I realized I recognized this tree as the foxtail palm, Wodyetia bifurcata:

Of course, the common name foxtail palm is about as apt as a common name can be. The fronds, which are double-ranked (thus the species name) are fairly unique amongst palms.

As unique looking as this palm is, it was only first discovered by botanists in 1983, in Australia. (It would seem that Australia is the best place for undiscovered plants). Though incredibly tough and easy to grow, the plant is now endangered in its native habitat

The name Wodyetia is derivative of the name Wodyeti, who was an Australian Aboriginal bushman -- the last male in the Melville Range Aborigines -- who had a reknowned knowledge of this tree.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your posting sent me online to learn more about this palm. Very cool that it is so newly discovered.