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