Eight foxtail palm trees, known in botanical parlance as Wodyetia bifurcata, have been planted in Panther Plaza.
The new trees are replacing queen palms that had been on the plaza for the last 20 or so years. The rigors of aging in the tight space of the planters and amid the unforgiving concrete likely shortened the lives of the trees, despite nutrient injections and other steps taken by Manager of Grounds Holly Chichester and her team.
As part of the new planting, Manager of Grounds Holly Chichester and her team also improved the irrigation system serving the new trees.
Featuring smooth bark – the better not to scratch any wayward walkers – and bamboo-like trunk rings, the self-exfoliating trees also produce red, eye-catching fruit similar to what is seen on Christmas palms, Chichester said. These will reach nearly 25 feet in height at full maturity. (In optimum conditions, they would be more likely to reach 30 feet.)
These are not Florida Tech’s only foxtail palms. The same species can be found in front of the John E. Miller Building, also along Country Club Road and in front of the outdoor dining area at Panther Dining Hall.