Foxtail palm also known as Wodyetia bifurcate belongs to genus Wodyetia and family Arecaeae. It is a specula palm. The foxtail is named for its foliage. It is easy to grow. Foxtail palm tolerate a wide range of soils. It grows in full sun to part shade. This tree has tidy appearance do not needs pruning. It tolerates salt conditions and thrives in temperate coastal climates. Fox tail palm requires proper amount of water, good drainage and palm friendly fertilizers for proper growth. They require high humidity. Foxtail palm is drought tolerant and disease resistant to some extent.
Foxtail is planted worldwide as a beautiful ornamental plant. Foxtail palm is highly adaptable and is grown under suitable environments all over the world. It is native to Australia, endemic to remote area in Queensland where it grows on rocky and floody scrubland. Tropical to sub tropical environments are suitable for this palm. In Southern California, foxtail palm is initiated at ground level from large plants. There are huge nurseries of foxtail palm based in Florida.
It is 10 m tall and have 2-3 meter leaves. Each graceful leaf looks like a green plume fox tail. Young leaves are covered with dense scales. It has gray to brown trunk and also have circular ring like leaf scars. Its trunk is very similar to king palm. Trunk is smooth thin and self cleaning. Its stem is solitary, light gray and bottled shape. It is 6-15 meter tall and 20-25cm in diameter. Foxtail palm has green leaf sheath on trunk which extends below crown. This feature is known as crown shaft. Young fruit is olive green to green. Mature fruit is orange to red and is ovoid toglobose in nature. Flowers come from base of crown shaft. Its foliage is green to light green in color. Seeds of foxtail grow veryfast when planted under proper conditions.
species associated with foxtail palm are:
• Low form of Ficus oblique
• Ficus benjamina
• Buchanania arborescens
• Polyalthia nitidissima
• Myristica insipida
• Diospyros reticulata
• Cryptocarya bidwilli
• Vines capparis sp.
• Cissus sp.
• Palm oil is used as healing mixture.
• Red palm oil was used in treatment of mysterious diseases.
• Palm wine was used as small pox treatment.
• Wax products.
• Palm syrup.
• Ivory nuts.
• Palm wood.
• Carnuba wax.
• Rattan cane.
Leaf blight: trunk of foxtail palm has arching fronds ,which are infected when plant is young due to which leaf spots occur that matures to blights. Early spots are brown, fungus spreads and kills the leaflets. Fungal disease in foxtail palm is associated with Iron deficiency. It is treated by iron rich nutrients and pruning of leaflets. Treatment with fungicide is also done.
Overhead watering to foxtail palm cause fungal infections which leads to brown spots. Pathologists recommend to stop overwatering and sprinkling. Proper ventilation with increased air circulation is required.
Ganoderma but rot:
This is caused by Ganoderma zonatum. A conch type shell is present on the surface of trunk of dyeing foxtail palm. It is a deadly disease which has no cure.
Fusarium wilt is a palm destroying disease , caused by Fusarium oxysporumwas observed in palms at Sydney, Australia for the first time. . This causes discoloration of vascular bundles. This disease causes frond death and gradually whole plant die.
INSECT PESTS OF FOXTAIL:
• Mealy bugs, there are different types of mealy bugs some effect root of palm, some effect bud area. Most of them colonizes new growths of palm.
• Ambrosia beetles
• Banana moth larvae and grubs
• These pests can be controlled by root drench with an active ingredient Imidacloprid with Dominon.
• Cold climates cause crown rot, root rot and plant die.
• Fronds turns brown in crown rot.
• When roots are over watered for long they cause root rot.
• Scales are present on underside of newer leaves.
Recent development of ornamental diseases in Pakistan:
Diseases of ornamental perennial plants including foxtail have been addressed under the Higher Education Commission Project No. 2762 at Fungal Molecular Biology Lab, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad. This project is run by Dr. Imran ul Haq (Assistant Professor) aims to manage the all possible diseases of perennial ornamental plants prevailing in Pakistan. No sooner, there will be satisfactory progress in the management of these ailments under this project.
Foxtail palm is an important ornamental and medicinal plant. It has aesthetic as well as economic value, but insect pests and diseases are continuously retarding its progress in Pakistan. It is important to work over its biotic and abiotic disorders for its conservation.
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