What is the plant
Podocarpus henkelii is a South African species of conifer in the family Podocarpaceae. It is grown ornamentally in gardens for its strikingly neat, attractive form and its elegant, drooping foliage. Podocarpus henkelii is increasingly grown in gardens around southern Africa for its neat, attractive form and decorative foliage. It is easy to cultivate, tough once established, and incredibly long-lived. It can also be pruned if necessary, to change its shape. However, although it is mildly frost and drought resistant, it is healthiest (and grows fastest) when planted in deep, moist soils.
An attractive ornamental tree, this is one of the most recognisable of the yellowwoods. It can easily be distinguished from its close relatives by its long, slender, drooping leaves. It has a straight, well-formed trunk and naturally assumes a pyramid-shape as it grows, eventually becoming very tall (30m).
Like all yellowwoods, this tree is dioecious, with separate male and female trees. As conifers they produce cones, although it is their fruit-like seeds that are most prominent. These seeds are eaten and distributed by birds. The fleshy coating of the seed contains a germination inhibitor so being eaten actually helps germination by removing this coating.
It can be propagated from seed, which should be planted promptly in a moist, semi-shade position. The fleshy fruit that surrounds the seed must be removed as this inhibits germination. The seed is also vulnerable to fungal infection.
Henkel's yellowwood is a protected tree in South Africa.
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