Wodyetia A.K.Irvine
  • Principes 27: 161 (1983) 

Notes: Distribution: NE. Australia

General Description

Moderate, solitary, unarmed, pleonanthic, monoecious palm. Stem columnar, slightly bottle-shaped, closely ringed with leaf scars, light grey. Leaves pinnate, appearing plumose and oblong-elliptical in outline; sheath tubular forming a prominent crownshaft, elongate, green, splitting opposite the petiole, covered with a greyish-white tomentum; petiole short, stout, adaxially slightly concave to flat, abaxially rounded; rachis much longer than the petiole, adaxially becoming angled, abaxially rounded, petiole and rachis covered with greyish-white to brown, tattered-peltate scales and larger ramenta; leaflets single-fold, regularly arranged, divided into several linear segments, or deeply lobed, each segment usually with 1 (2–4) main ribs, apices coarsely praemorse sometimes obliquely so, or with 2-several small teeth, rarely pointed, tapering, terminal leaflets single or paired, adaxially glabrous, abaxially densely covered with very small whitish scales, transverse veinlets not evident. Inflorescences infrafoliar, horizontal in bud, becoming ± pendulous in fruit, branched to 4 orders basally, 2–1 orders distally; peduncle short, wide, ± flattened; prophyll tubular, dorsiventrally flattened, with 2 flat lateral keels, rather narrow, tapering from the base to a blunt point, caducous; peduncular bract like the prophyll but not keeled, 4–5 small, incomplete bracts present above the peduncular bract; rachis much longer than the peduncle bearing distant, stout, angled, spirally arranged branches subtended by small, pointed, or wrinkled bracts; rachillae rather short, cylindrical, bearing widely spaced triads basally and paired or solitary staminate flowers distally; floral bracteoles small, narrow, imbricate. slightly bifid apically, unevenly sagittate basally, dorsifixed near the base, Staminate flower symmetrical, bullet-shaped in bud; sepals 3, distinct, latrorse, connective elongate, tanniniferous; pistillode bottle-shaped with imbricate, rounded, inflated, margins finely toothed; petals 3, distinct, a long neck, terminated by 4–5 short, linear lobes or papillae. Pollen broadly ovate, valvate, very hard, about twice as long as the sepals; ellipsoidal asymmetric; aperture a distal sulcus; ectexine tectate, perforate, stamens 60–71, filaments slender, terete, short, anthers elongate, narrow, or perforate-finely rugulate, aperture margin similar or slightly finer; infratectum columellate; longest axis ranging from 50–56 µm [1/1]. Pistillate flowers (buds only seen), ovoid; sepals 3, distinct, broadly imbricate, rounded, margins finely tattered; petals 3, distinct, imbricate, hooded, valvate distally; staminodes 6, very small, triangular with short filaments; gynoecium conic-ovoid, unilocular, uniovulate, stigmas 3, apices rounded. Fruit globose-ovoid, orange-red at maturity, stigmatic remains apical forming a conical beak; epicarp thin with very short, stout fibres below the epidermal layer, mesocarp fleshy, orange-yellow when ripe, thin with longitudinal fibres, some forked, endocarp complex with outer distinctive thick, flat, branched fibres and an inner layer of horizontal fibres. Seed ellipsoidal, beaked, raphe branches medium, anastomosing, slightly impressed, endosperm homogeneous; embryo basal. Germination adjacent-ligular; eophyll bifid. Cytology: 2n = 32.

Diagnostic Description

Spectacular, moderate solitary pinnate-leaved palm, native to northeastern Queensland, Australia, with crownshaft and praemorse leaflets, the leaflets longitudinally divided into many segments that are splayed out, giving the whole leaf a foxtail appearance; the fruit is relatively large and has a distinctive network of black fibres next to the endocarp; the seed has homogeneous endosperm.


Root (Seubert 1998a, 1998b).


Forming the canopy in open woodland communities of rain forest in coarse, loose granite sand, among huge granite boulders.


One species in north-eastern Queensland, Australia, confined to the south-west, south and south-east sides of the Melville Range.


Since its discovery in the early 1980s, Wodyetia has rapidly become a highly valued and very widely dispersed ornamental.

Common Names

Foxtail palm.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Australasia Australia Queensland


  • 1 J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis, Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms. 2008
  • 2 Govaerts, R. & Dransfield, J. (2005). World Checklist of Palms: 1-223. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

 Information From

Palmweb - Palms of the World Online
Palmweb 2011. Palmweb: Palms of the World Online. Published on the internet http://www.palmweb.org. Accessed on 21/04/2013
  • A Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
  • B http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0
eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from http://e-monocot.org.
  • C Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
WCSP 2014. 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/ Retrieved 2011 onwards
  • D See http://kew.org/about-kew/website-information/legal-notices/index.htm You may use data on these Terms and Conditions and on further condition that: The data is not used for commercial purposes; You may copy and retain data solely for scholarly, educational or research purposes; You may not publish our data, except for small extracts provided for illustrative purposes and duly acknowledged; You acknowledge the source of the data by the words "With the permission of the Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew" in a position which is reasonably prominent in view of your use of the data; Any other use of data or any other content from this website may only be made with our prior written agreement.