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Beaucarnea recurvata


Beaucarnea recurvata (K.Koch & Fintelm.) Lem.

Family Name: Asparagaceae
Common Name: Ponytail Palm, Elephant-foot Tree, Bottle Palm, 酒瓶兰


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants)
Plant Growth Form Tree
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Fountain (Palm-like)
Maximum Height 1.8 m to 9 m
Tree or Palm – Trunk Diameter 3


Native Distribution Southeastern Mexico
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form A tree with crown resembling ponytail and distinctive trunk with massively swollen base. Tree can grow up to 9 m tall and base up to 3.7 m wide. 
Trunk Trunk is massively swollen at the base. Usually no branching when young, the trunk may develop slight branching as it matures. 
Foliage Leaves are green, thin and flat (up to 1.5 m long and 2.5 cm wide). They clustered in dense tufts at the tips of branches that arch upwards and droop downward, resembling a pony’s tail. Leaves have spiral arrangement, parallel venation and serrate margin. 
Flowers Flowers are creamy white and small, yet when borne in clusters appear to be large and showy. 
Similar B.recurvata differs from B.pliables by the latter having more basal branching and more erect inflorescence. 
Taxonomy The family name is Asparagaceae according to APGIII. It was formerly placed in Ruscaceae, Agavaceae, Dracaenaceae, and Nolinaceae. One synonym of this species is Nolina recurvata.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage
Landscape Uses General
Thematic Landscaping Rockery / Desert Garden

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Sun
Water Preference Little Water
Plant Growth Rate Slow
Rootzone Tolerance Well-Drained Soils
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Propagation Method Seed


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth, Thin
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Linear)
Foliar Venation Parallel
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acuminate
Typical Foliar Area Mesophyll ( 45cm2 - 182.25 cm2 )
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Monocot)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Root Type Underground
Specialised Storage Organ(s) Aboveground (Caudiiform (Basal Caudex))

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Cream / Off-White
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Image Repository



Master ID 975
Species ID 2269
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 19 June 2024.