Podocarpus sp.


Podocarpus sp. Common name: Yellowwood; Zulu name: umsonti

The mistbelt forests of the Midlands are home to all three Podocarpus species. Podocarpus henkelii (Henkels or Drooping-leaf Yellowwood) is endemic to the evergreen inland forests of KZN and the Eastern Cape. Podocarpus falcatus (Small leaf or Common Yellowwood) and Podocarpus latifolius (Real or Broad-leafed Yelllowwood) are dominant canopy trees of the forest, reaching heights of up to 25m. Some specimens are believed to be 1000 years old.

Yellowwoods developed in the cold climes of Southern Gondwana before the continents drifted apart millions of years ago and are also found today in South America and Australasia, but not on any Northern continent.

A fascinating fact is that once they have germinated on the forest floor, they grow to a meter or two high and then wait, patiently, for as many years as it takes for a gap to open in the canopy (when another tree falls) and then they start to grow again.

Podocarpus falcatus is important to the survival of the endangered Cape Parrot who make their nests in dead trees and along with other birds and mammals feed on the fruit.

Click on any of the links below to see another Dargle wildflower