Wodyetia bifurcata, commonly known as the Foxtail Palm, belongs to the palm family Arecaceae, and is an Australian native. It is the sole species in the genus Wodyetia, and originates from a very small population in Far North Queensland. It has very unusual seeds that are large, sometimes up to 6 cms, and prominently grooved with fibrous material. The species was first described in 1978, and was classed as a rare and endangered palm under Queensland's Nature Conservation Act 1992, and on the IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species. In its early days, enormous demand for this newly described plant fueled illegal collection of wild plants and seeds, nearly decimating its small, local populations. Since then, legal propagation eventually cooled demand for the wild-collected plants, and native populations appear to be regenerating. It seems so ironic that a plant which has been so threatened in it's native range, has also been cultivated and progressively planted out as one of the "world's most popular" palms. PS: The first three photos in this set show the fruit and seeds. The fruit shown in the 3rd photo is still green, but will eventually ripen red and fall from the fruit bunch. Good photos can also be found at the Wikipedia link. I can only image that the fruit would be a favourite of the Black Flying Fox (Pteropus alecto), a local megabat species.
This species is endemic to the Cape Melville range, within the Cape Melville National Park in Far North Queensland. This spotting was at the Brisbane Botanical Gardens, Mt. Coot-Tha, in a well-established sub-tropical rainforest section of the gardens.
The Foxtail Palm was largely unknown until 1978, when an Aboriginal man named Wodyeti shared his knowledge of its existence. I think it's really awesome that the plant genus bares his name. This palm is also closely related to another north Queensland palm, Normanbya normanbyi, and it is expected that both will be put into the same genus when a revision is made of the two species. That is according to the PACSOA Palms and Cycads website.
Lat: -27.48, Long: 152.97
Spotted on Nov 16, 2018
Submitted on Jan 13, 2019
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