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Products > Podocarpus latifolius
Podocarpus latifolius - Yellowwood
Image of Podocarpus latifolius
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Podocarpaceae (Podocarps)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Insignificant
Bloomtime: Not Significant
Height: 40-50 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Podocarpus latifolius (Yellowwood) - An upright narrow slow growing evergreen tree that grows to 100 feet tall in its natural habitat but is rarely seen much more than 40 feet as a garden tree. The foliage of this tree appears to be gray from a distance but the 1 1/2 inch long by 1/3-inch-wide linear leaves (technically needles) are covered with a bluish-gray powder which rubs off to expose the green underneath and new flushes of growth are often paler or even bronzy. The foliage covers the plant in an upright spire of growth but with age the beautiful trunk, with peeling bark is exposed. This species is dioecious, with male and female cones on separate plants, and all of our plants are cutting grown females with small bluish cones that sit on fleshy green elongated receptacles.

Plant in sun or part shade with regular watering. While the arils of the fruit of most species of Podocarpus are edible, raw or cooked into jams or pies, other parts of the fruits are slightly toxic and should be eaten only in small amounts or avoided, especially when raw. In addition the stems, leaves, flowers, and pollen all contain this toxin and for this reason some sources list Podocarpus in general (and Podocarpus macrophyllus specifically) as being toxic to dogs. We have not found our dogs interested in eating this plant but list this here to caution others not to let their dogs eat it.

Podocarpus latifolius grows in the Sudan and down in the Knysna forest in the Southern Cape area of South Africa. Its wood was used extensively for the floors and ceilings in older houses in South Africa. The name for the genus is derived from Greek words 'podo' meaning "foot" or "footed" and 'karpos' which means "fruit" in reference to the fleshy stalk or receptacle that holds the seed. This is lacking on some plants previously included in this genus and these plants have been transferred to the new genus Afrocarpus. The specific epithet comes from the Latin words 'latus' means "wide" or broad and 'folium' meaning leaf in reference to the broader leaves of this species. The common name Yellowwood is shared by other Podocarpus and this one is sometimes called "Real Yellowwood" to distinguish it. We first started growing this wonderful columnar tree in 1988 and for many years had a stately specimen growing next to our sales office until a devastating storm with winds coming from the opposite direction as normal toppled this very nice plant. We continue to grow it as well as the somewhat similar more icy blue-gray as Podocarpus elongatus 'Monmal'. 

This information about Podocarpus latifolius displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.