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Family Arecaceae
Foxtail palm
Wodyetia bifurcata Linn.
WODYETIA PALM
Qian si

Scientific names Common names
Wodyetia bifurcata A.K.Irvine Foxtail palm (Engl.)
  Wodyetia palm (Engl.)
Wodyetia bifurcata A.K.Irvine is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Qian si.

Gen info
- The palm was first introduced to the botanical world in 1983 when an Australian aboriginal man brought it to the world's attention.
- The species name Wodyetia bifurcata derives from (1) Wodyeti, the name of the Australian Aboriginal bushman, and (2) and the Latin word bifurcata,
meaning twice forked, referring to the unique shape of the fruit and fish-tailed leaflets. (1)
- Wodyetia bifurcata is the sole species of the genus Wodyetia.
- Foxtail derives from the descriptive leaflets radiating out at all angles from the stems, akin to the tail of a fox.

Botany
Wodyetia bifurcata is a recent introduction to the world of palms—a fast growing, large-sized evergreen tree, growing up to 10 meters tall. Pale green arching fronds have leaflets radiating out at all angles from the stems. A mature palm has a canopy of 8 to 10 leaves, each with the characteristic foxtail or bottle-brush appearance, with a crown of foliate 4.6 to 6.1 meters across. Trunk is slender, closely ringed bottle shaped to columnar, growing to a height of 9.1 meters. Fruits occur in colorful clusters of red to orange-red, each containing one seed, brown-black in color, up to 3-4 centimeters. (1)

Distribution
- Introduced.
- Ornamental cultivation.
- Native to a small part of Australia.

Constituents
- Aerial parts yielded the presence of ß-amyrin, lupeol, apigenin, kaempferol, p-hydroxyl benzoic acid and gallic acid. (see study below) (2)
- GLC analysis for fatty acid esters yielded six components, namely: Dodecanoic acid (Lauric acid) 11.12%, tetradecanoic acid (Myristic acid) 1.57%, hexadecanoic acid (Palmitic acid) 15.93%, octadecanoic acid (Stearic acid) 1.43%, cis-9-octadecanoic acid (Oleic acid) 16.92%, cis,cis-9,12-octadecanoic acid (Linoleic acid) 5.044%, All cis9,12,15-octadecanoic acid (Linolenic acid) 1.16%, 5,8,11,14-all-cis-eicosatetraenoic acid (Arachidonic acid) 1.96%. (3)
- Fatty acid analysis of aerial parts of W. bifurcata unsaponifiable fraction yielded pentadecane (1). hexadecane (2), heptadecane (3), octadecane (4), nonadecane (5), eicosane (6), heneicosane (7), docosane (8), tricosane (9), tetracosane (10). pentcosane (11), hexacosane (12), cholesterol (13), campesterol (14), stigmasterol (15), and ß-sitosterol (16). (see study below) (3)

Uses
Edibility
- Blogs have reported the nectarine flesh of the fruit to be edible, although rather flavorless—not sweet, but slightly acrid.
- Caution: The fruit has been reported to be poisonous to dogs.
Folkloric
- No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
Others
- Beads:
Seeds used for making Bodhi beads.

Studies
Triterpenoid and Phenolic Content / Cytotoxicity: Study showed butanol extracts demonstrated weak cytotoxicity against HepG2 cells, with IC50 of 568.5 µg/ml. (see constituents above) (2)
Fatty Acid Composition / Oleic Acid: Study of fatty acid composition showed major monunsaturated fatty acid is cis-9-octadecanoic acid (oleic acid) and the main saturated fatty acid was hexadecanoic acid (palmitic acid). Oleic acid has been reported as anti-inflammatory by influencing arachidonic acid metabolism together with a role in the activation of different pathways of immune competent cells, and antiatherogenic effects via lowering of total and LDL cholesterol, decreasing coronary risk factors of hypertension, diabetes and obesity. (see constituents above) (3)

Availability
- Cultivated as ornamental.
- Seeds in the cybermarket.

Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

September 2016

IMAGE SOURCE: Photograph / Tree / © Palm Tree Store / click on image to go to source page / Real Palm Tree
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Photgraphs / Fruit and leaves / click on image to go to source page / © Identifying Commonly Cultivated Palms

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
(1)
Wodyetia bifurcata / Chuck McLendone / Floridata Plant Encyclopedia

(2)
Biological studies of isolated triterpenoids and phenolic compounds identified from Wodyetia bifurcata family Arecaceae / Abd ELnasser B. Sengab, Dina M. Y. El naggar, Mohamed R. Elgindi and Mostafa B. Elsaid / Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry 2015; 3(6): 67-73
(3)
Unveiling fatty acids profile using gas chromatography (GC) and genetic pattern of Wodyetia bifurcata family Arecaceae using Random Amplified Polymorphic-DNA (RAPD) technique
. / Dina MY El naggar, Mostafa B Elsaid, and Mohamed R Elgindi / Research Journal of Pharmaceutical, Biological and Chemical Sciences, Jan-Feb 2016, 7 (1)
(4)
Wodyetia bifurcata / Identifying Commonly Cultivated Palms

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page.

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