Common Name: Wodveitchia; Foxy Lady Palm
Sun: Mostly full sun (can handle full sun but any variegated leaflets tend to burn)
Growth Rate: Very Fast (some Hawaiian growers have reported up to 6ft of trunk in one year)
Water: Low to Moderate
Cold Tolerance: 25deg F
History: First showing up in Australia where the Foxtail mother is native, but seemed to show up concurrently in South Florida around the same time- late 1980’s to early 1990’s.
Production: The seed parent (mother) is Wodyetia bifurcata (Foxtail Palm) which is native to Australia. The pollen parent is Veichia arecina (aka Veitchia montgomeryana; Sunshine Palm; Montgomery Palm) native to Vanuatu in the South Pacific. Production is fairly easy and subsequent seeds seem to be mostly viable. About 66% of seedlings come up variegated when flowers are manually cross-pollenated. Hybrids also come up naturally when both parents are growing and flowering on the same property, but the percentage is much lower, maybe 1-2%. The variegation is always stable (the plant does not grow out of it), but can range from yellow to pure white. Variegated specimens are slower growing, produce thinner trunks, and don’t like full sun as much.
Benefits: This is probably the most attractive hybrid palm in the world. Its droopy leaflets create a beautiful, tropical look that appeals to everybody. It is a very fast grower and has generally low fertilizer and water needs. The variegated specimens are always in high demand and make great container plants when small. Seeds are typically sterile so you don’t have a bunch of seedlings popping up underneath the parent tree. It is a self-cleaning palm as well.
Identification: Identifying Foxy Lady hybrids from seedlings is probably the most hotly-contested and overly-discussed subject in the entire rare palm collector world! Many have bought seedlings labeled as hybrids, only to find out that they’re not and they had got dooped out of their money. The obvious identifying characteristic is if a seedling comes up variegated (variegated pure Foxtail seedings probably come up about one in one million). Besides that, you will know you have a hybrid if the tree has been manually cross pollenated (properly), or if the eophyll or first few leaves are very thin, droopy, and delicate. The general rule of thumb is “if you are on-the-fence as to whether it’s a hybrid or not… its not.”