The Gymnosperm Database


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Conservation status 2010: protocol 2.3, needs updating

Podocarpus elongatus

(Aiton) L'Herit. ex Persoon 1807

Common names

Breede River yellowwood (Leistner 1966).

Taxonomic notes

Syn: Taxus elongatus Aiton 1789; Taxus elongata Aiton 1789; Taxus capensis Lam. 1789; Nageia elongata (Aiton) F. Muell. 1876; Podocarpus thunbergii Hook. var. angustifolia Sim 1907 (de Laubenfels 1985, Farjon 1998).


"Rounded tree or spreading shrub usually 3-6 m high but attaining a height of 20 m; diameter of shrubs as much as 12 m. Bark thin, more or less persistent, greyish-green to dark grey. Branchlets pale yellowish-green, terete with grooves from decurrent leaf bases. Terminal buds of average branchlet about 2-3 mm in diameter; outer bud scales narrowly triangular-oblong, 4-6 mm long and about 1.5 mm wide. Leaves spirally arranged to subopposite, often crowded in upper parts of shoots and subverticillate, spreading to suberect, glaucous to greyish-green above, narrowly oblong-elliptic, tapering in the upper 1/2 to 1/3, but more abruptly near the tip, acute to subobtuse; adult leaves (1.8-) 3-6 (-7) cm long and (3-) 4-5 (-9) mm wide; juvenile leaves up to 12 cm long and 1 cm wide; midrib distinctly raised on lower surface, on upper surface slightly raised in lower half, margins flat to slightly recurved; stomata on lower surface in 15-30 ± distinct longitudinal rows on either side of midrib, on upper surface many leaves have 1 to several short rows of stomata in shallow longitudinal grooves. Male cones solitary or in groups of 2-5, generally ± sessile, more rarely on thin fertile shoots up to 7 mm long bearing 3-5 sessile cones in the axils of bracts, cones (1-) 1.4-1.9 (-2.5) cm long, elongating up to 3 or 4 cm after shedding pollen, (3-) 4 (-5) mm in diameter; outer sterile scales at base trullate-ovate to broadly transversely elliptic, contracted into a short tip, margin brown, scarious, denticulate, 2-3 mm long and 1.5-2 mm wide; terminal lobe of fertile scale triangular to ovate-triangular, denticulate to lacerate, 0.5-0.6 mm long and 0.6-0.8 mm wide; pollen sacs 0.9-1.3 mm long and 0.6-0.7 mm in diameter. Female cones solitary, on naked stalks (2-) 4-6 (-13) mm long and about 1 mm in diameter; receptacle fleshy, glaucous green at first, turning scarlet, when ripe 9-15 mm long and 10-16 mm wide, with l or 2 fertile scales, 1 or 2 seeds maturing on each receptacle. Seed ellipsoid to ovoid, slightly apiculate, (6-) 7-10 (-12) mm long, dark glaucous green; total thickness of shell 0.3-1 mm, consisting of 3 thin layers: the outer leathery, the middle one slightly woody and the inner pergamentaceous, mottled with dark purple, between middle and outer layers small deposits of yellow resin are common" (Leistner 1966).

"The presence of scattered stomata on the upper surface of many leaves is a valuable diagnostic character. The grooves in which these stomata are situated are usually visible to the naked eye and the stomata themselves can be seen under 10× magnification. In the majority of specimens 20-80 per cent of the leaves have at least one short row of stomata on the upper surface. Only a few herbarium specimens were seen in which none of the leaves had any stomata on the upper surface" (Leistner 1966).

Distribution and Ecology

S Africa: "Confined to the winter-rainfall region of the western Cape where it grows mainly on sandy soil, often along streams and rivers. It has not been recorded from the coastal belt and appears to be absent from the Cape Peninsula. In exposed positions on mountains it is often stunted and can be almost prostrate" (Leistner 1966).

Zone 10 (cold hardiness limit between -1°C and +4.4°C) (Bannister and Neuner 2001).

Big tree






Seeds and receptacles are eaten by birds and other animals (Leistner 1966).


Leistner, O.A. 1966. Podocarpaceae. Pp. 34-41 in L.E. Codd, B. De Winter and H.B. Rycrodt (eds.), Flora of Southern Africa, Volume I. Republic of South Africa Department on Agricultural Technical Services (as P. falcatus).

See also

Last Modified 2017-12-29