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Cat palm toxic to cats
The cat palm (Washingtonia filifera) is a small deciduous tree that may grow to 4 metres in height and 30cm in diameter. However it is commonly much smaller. It has a spiky and leafless trunk with a large flower spike rising from it. The leaves are alternate and 5–10 cm long. The tree is hardy in Zones 8 to 9.
There are about 60 species of Washingtonia. The cat palm grows in lowland areas from sea level to altitudes of up to 1,400 metres in the southern part of the Pacific Coast range. It prefers a temperate climate with a long dry season from September to April and a rny season from May to September. It is often found in river valleys and along watercourses. The cat palm is a slow-growing, long-lived tree. In its native range, it is also commonly planted.
It grows rapidly, and the leaves are eaten by the caterpillars of a number of species of moth, including Washingtonia catawbiensis, Washingtonia brachygonium, Washingtonia furtum, Washingtonia montana and Washingtonia schotti. These include some of the most important sources of income in the small towns and plantations of the southern Pacific Coast.
The cat palm is used for timber, as well as a source of palm wine. The plant has a great variety of fruit-bearing inflorescences which are the source of palm wine. It is also an important source of edible nuts. Native Australians use the cat palm for medicinal purposes. In the early 1900s it was found to be an excellent natural source of niacin (B3) and it was used as a food for horses. In the United States it was cultivated as a source of edible fruit. It was planted as a source of timber in the 1940s by the U.S. Forest Service in southern California and it has thrived there since. Cat palms are frequently planted near roads to provide shade for travelers and shade for commercial parking lots. Cat palms make an effective windbreak in the southeastern United States and are an important landscaping feature in the American South.
Cattleya andcattleyasortida.org: The Palms of Cattleya
Category:Monotypic Arecaceae genera
Category:Flora of the Cascade Range
Category:Trees of the Southwestern United States
Category:Palms of Australia
Category:Taxa named by Eduard August von Regel
Category:Plants described in 1796
Category:Desert flora of California
Category:Flora of Nevada
Category:Flora of the Great Basin
Category:Taxa named by Thomas Kirk