BASIC TREE DETAILS
Botanical Name: Podocarpus falcatus
Common Name: Outeniqua yellowwood
RSA National Tree No’: 16
The Outeniqua yellowwood is becoming increasingly popular as one of our loveliest indigenous specimen trees. This tall elegant evergreen adds distinction to any urban landscape, whether it is installed in a large garden, a park, or planted as an impressive avenue along a driveway or roadside. Where a really striking tree for a seaside garden is sought, Podocarpus falcatus is the answer, as it grows well in sandy soils and tolerates salt laden winds. This versatile tree makes an excellent container plant which can be used to add impact to patios and paved areas.
Height: 15m – 60m
Growth Habit: Podocarpus falcatus occurs mainly in afromontane forest and occasionally in coastal or sand forest.
Bark: The bark of the Outeniqua yellowwood is smooth, thin and greyish brown to dark brown in colour, flaking in round or rectangular patches.
Foliage: The small, narrow, leathery, dark green leaves of this yellowwood are arranged spirally. They are twisted at the base, sharply pointed and are somewhat sickle shaped.
Flowers: This tree does not bear flowers.
Fruit: The cones are very primitive and reduced. Those on the male trees are almost catkin-like while on the female trees only one seed is produced at the end of a woody stalk.
Seed: The large, fleshy, spherical seed is about 15mm in diameter, turning a deep yellow and taking a year to mature. Seeds may be found on the tree for most of the year.
Growing regions: Podocarpus falcatus is found in the moist areas of the Southern Cape especially around Knysna but occasionally in wooded ravines, mountain forest or coastal swamp forest and extending North to Limpopo and East to Mocambique.
Growing conditions: The Outeniqua yellowwood grows well in all soil types provided it is well composted and receives adequate water.
Best season: All year
Hardiness: This stunning tree is sensitive to drought but tolerates light frost and can even be grown close to the sea.
Propagation: Propagation is mainly from seed. Remove the fleshy part and plant in a mixture of well rotted compost and sand. Germination can take up to 6 months.
Growth rate: The growth rate is average, from about 50cm per year.
The Podocarpus falcatus is well known for its valuable pale yellow wood. The wood has been traditionally used in the manufacture of fine furniture for many years, in fact, most of the famous yellowwood antiques are made from the wood of this tree. The straight stems were used for the topmasts and yards of ships. The hard, attractive timber is still highly sought after in boat-building today. The bark is used for tanning leather while the sap is used as a remedy for various chest complaints.