The ponytail palm is not a true palm, though it is easy to understand why it is often mistaken
for one. It is native to South Africa and central and southeastern Mexico.
Plants: Reaches 20-33' (6-10 m) in height, with a trunk
8-16" (20-40 cm) in diameter. Its caudex,
a swelling at the base of the plant, stores water, and is the reason for the name “elephant’s foot palm.”
Leaves: Evergreen, linear, strap-shaped, 20-71" (50-180 cm) ×
½-⅞" (1.5-2.5 cm), with finely serrated edges. The caudex can be as large as 9½' (3 m) in
Flowers: Only older trees (more than ten years old)
produce flowers, which appear on
large showy panicles 30-43" (75-110 cm) long. The panicles are large, but the flowers are tiny, ¹/₃₂" (1.5 mm)
in diameter. They are greenish-white, with six tepals.
Fruits: Capsules about ⅜" (1.2 cm) long.
Edibility: Poisonous I found this listed in the US Food and
Drug Administration’s Poisonous Plant Database, though I was not able to find details about it.