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Afrocarpus falcatus

Afrocarpus falcatus
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Product Information

Scientific name: Afrocarpus falcatus   (Thunberg) C.N.Page  1989

Synonyms: Afrocarpus gaussenii (Woltz) C.N.Page, Decussocarpus falcatus (Thunb.) de Laub., Nageia falcata (Thunb.) Carrière, Nageia meyeriana (Endl.) Kuntze, Podocarpus falcatus (Thunb.) Endl., Podocarpus gaussenii Woltz, Podocarpus gracillimus Stapf, Podocarpus meyerianus Endl., Taxus falcata Thunb.

Common names: Outeniqua yellowwood, Common yellowwood, Outeniekwageelhout (Afrikaans), umGeya (Xhosa and Zulu), Mse mawe (Bantu), Mu sengera (Kikuyu)



Tree to 25(-60) m tall under optimum moist conditions, though shorter, sometimes no more than 10 m, in dry habitats. Trunk to 1.5(-2.4) m in diameter. Bark smooth in young trees, flaking in rectangular or rounded small plates in large trees, purplish brown or dark brown, weathering grey. Crown dome-shaped, the relatively few large, crooked branches radiating from the trunk and rapidly proliferating to support the dense foliage. Leaves spirally arranged, on seedlings and young plants narrowly linear-lanceolate, up to 12 cm long and 3-6 mm wide, straight or falcate, tapering to a fine point. Adult leaves much shorter, (1-)2-4(-4.5) cm long, (1.2-)2-4(-5) mm wide, twisted at the narrowed base, spreading to ascending, straight or slightly falcate, linear-lanceolate to linear-elliptic, with a conspicuously raised midrib adaxially (lower side), obscurely present abaxially, grey-green; apex acute to obtuse. Pollen cones 0.4-1 cm long (to 1.5 cm after the pollen is shed) and 2-3.5 mm wide, one to four directly in the axils of the leaves or at the tip of a very short, leafless stalk less than 5 mm long. Seed cones on a leafy to scaly stalk to 2(-3) cm long, the reproductive part with two or three unequal bracts, these not at all fleshy and the lower ones drying and falling before maturity, this region about 3 mm long by 2 mm thick. Fertile seed scale one the combined seed coat and epimatium yellowish to light reddish brown, nearly spherical, (0.6-)1.5-2(-2.5) cm in diameter, forming a resinous, thin fleshy coating over a bumpy,  bony shell 1-4(-6) mm thick, grooved along one side.

Discontinuous through eastern and southern Africa, from Eritrea to the Cape Region of South Africa with a gap from northern Malawi to the northern border of South Africa with Zimbabwe. Usually mixed with other high forest trees in coastal and montane forests but occasionally forming pure stands in the vicinity of permanent streams;(100-)1,000-2,000(-3,000) m.


Conservation Status

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern

(This widely distributed species is still abundant in many areas despite past logging, which undoubtedly has removed many large trees that have not yet been replaced by large mature trees from regrowth. At least in South Africa, this decline has now ceased. Elsewhere the situation is not certain, but the extensive range make it unlikely to be threatened)



Farjon, A. (2010). A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.

Eckenwalder, J.E. (2009) Conifers of the World: The Complete Reference. Timber Press, Portland.

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Cambridge, UK /Gland, Switzerland


Copyright © Aljos Farjon, James E. Eckenwalder, IUCN, Conifers Garden. All rights reserved

Product CodeAFRJCS3K74

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