For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Real Yellowwood (Podocarpus falcatus)

Family Podocarpaceae
This fast-growing, majestic yellowwood with its elegant shape is certainly a tree for all seasons and all gardens. It is an excellent container plant and can also be decorated and used as an indoor Christmas tree.
 The new flush of bluish-grey leaves in spring contrast beautifully against the older, dark green, mature leaves. The plant belongs to the Gymnospermae division of seed-bearing plants, differing from Angiospermae by the fact that the ovules are not enclosed in carpels-they are naked. Podocarpaceae is one of only seven Gymnosperm families found in South Africa, and this tree is protected.

 Natural distribution
This tree occurs from the southern Cape, northwards to the Limpopo and also eastwards to Mozambique.

 Ecological value

Ripe fruits are eaten by bats, bushpigs, fruit-eating birds (Cape parrots, purple-crested, Knysna and Ross's louries, Rameron, African green and Delagorgue's pigeons). The large, dense crown is often a roosting and nesting site for various birds.
 Uses and economic value

The wood is used extensively for furniture, roof beams, floorboards, door and window frames and boat building. Some of the famous yellowwood antiques seen throughout South Africa were made from the wood of this specific tree. The straight stems of these trees were once used for the topmasts of ships. The bark is used for tanning leather. Podocarpus falcatus could make an ideal indigenous substitute for the exotic pine trees currently being used in plantations; trials done at a forest station at Magoebaskloof showed that the yield is similar, with the growth rate and quality of the wood comparing favourably to that of commercial pine. The ripe fruit is edible and very resinous. The sap is used as a remedy for chest complaints.