Is the ponytail plant a tree

mcgyvr2009i(Schenectady, NY 5b)August 28, 2012

Okay, I hear everywhere "Palms are actually grass! Not trees!" I heard that like the Sago Palm(Which is a cycad, NOT a Palm), the ponytail palm is NOT a palm. Since it's not a palm, that leaves ONE question. The ponytail plant branches. It also has a trunk that kind of looks and feels like wood. Whether or not it is, I don't know. Because of this criteria, does that mean that the ponytail plant is actually a tree? Thanks in advanced!

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Nope, not a tree. It's related to Agaves and Aloe, the best way to describe it is a succulent. It's about as close to a tree as a yucca is, which is also not a tree!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 8:33PM
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i wonder what they both look like cut in half. i always want to shake mine and see if i hear the inside slush around like a coconut

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 8:47PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Not certain the word "tree" has a definition Certainly not a botany term. The original classification of all flowering plants is based on magnolia because it's a "Classic example of what a flowerring plant looks like.
From there everything is based on what's different and then placed into families size the usual term for "tree" has nothing to do with it. palms are not grass nor are they cycads Very distinct differences most people call palms trees not even close lol If you want to classify plants by size why not most people do??? gary

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 3:06AM
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I agree... a 'tree' is a tall plant. How tall? I really don't know.. when does a shrub become a tree? So I certainly think tall palms, Beaucarneas and aloes are trees... but they are not dicot trees.. .these are the monocot version of trees. But then is a giant saguaro a tree? It's a dicot... hmmm.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 11:59AM
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One of the first plants they told us about in horticulture school.

I believe the Ponytail palm(elephants foot)whatever you want to call it-has a dicot trunk and monocot leaves.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 6:23PM
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ericthehurdler(NOR CAL 9a)

a tree is a perennial woody plant having a main trunk and usually a distinct crown.- webster's dictionary lol

so a "ponytail palm" can be described as a tree but not a palm :P

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 6:44PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

How about "Family tree" "Tree of life" or most amazing "Shoe tree" No plants involved lol
One term that has always bugged me is "Tree fern" Fern tree" WAYYY different things lol gary

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 4:04AM
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The "Ponytail Palm," commonly called elephant-foot tree, nolina or bottle palm, is not a palm tree. Native to the deserts of Mexico, the unusual plant is a horticultural curious member of the lily family (Lilacea).

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 10:25AM
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Yep,its a just a giant tropical Lilly.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 3:58PM
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I like their flowering.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 6:10PM
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Also,..they aren't not desert plants. Some Nolina are..but the Beaucarnea range is near Vera Cruz Mexico,among others. A Decent amount of rainfall. And the ponytail grows on fast draining hillsides(all second hand knowledge from reading) in full sun to shady conditions. Where,as you might expect, they can get massive and very old.. 1-2hundreds? of years or more.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 2:25PM
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Are not,I meant..missed it.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 2:26PM
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JohnnieB(Washington, DC 7a/b)

Depends on how you define "tree". In vernacular terms that usually means a tall plant with a woody trunk. By this definition lots of things are trees. A botanical definition would probably include secondary thickening of the trunk and branching somewhere above the ground (rather than at or near ground level, which would be a shrub). This would rule out most palms but honestly, even as a botanist I'm not going to tell people that palm trees aren't trees! (But palms are not grasses by ANY definition!)

BTW ponytail palms can get quite large--here's a photo I took at Lotusland in Santa Barbara, CA several years ago:

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 9:48AM
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