Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: East African Yellowwood
Afrocarpus gracilior

Family: Podocarpaceae
Genus: Afrocarpus (af-roh-KAR-pus) (Info)
Species: gracilior (grass-IL-ee-or) (Info)

Synonym:Podocarpus gracilior

One member has or wants this plant for trade.

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Unknown - Tell us

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Seed is poisonous if ingested
All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Unknown - Tell us

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing
Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds

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By Ulrich
Thumbnail #1 of Afrocarpus gracilior by Ulrich

By Ulrich
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By palmbob
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There are a total of 28 photos.
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3 positives
4 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative WmCanard On Jul 3, 2012, WmCanard from Sunnyvale, CA wrote:

A very poor choice anywhere near a pool. The invasive roots have lifted my pool deck (over $900 in damage) and the dense shade prevents the solar blanket from working. There is a constant stream of falling leaves. They roll up around the stiff mid-rib and have a sharp pointed end. They quickly clog the filter baskets. If one of the needles gets into the pool filter, it stabs right though the filter webs, requiring their replacement.

It may make a good shade tree, just keep it 50 feet down wind from a pool.

Neutral peachesfinnigan On Oct 4, 2010, peachesfinnigan from Soquel, CA wrote:

Does anyone know if this is poisonous form dogs?

Positive flaflwrgrl On Jul 19, 2009, flaflwrgrl from North Central , FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

It is more often seen as a hedge here & it does make a thick, beautiful hedge. However, it is grown into a tree form in some yards (including mine). They are indeed beautiful. Fast growing they can become thick & require a pruner who knows their stuff. A neighbor has 2 in the front yard which are quite old---maybe 35 years old---in multitrunked tree form. They are breathtaking! They withstood hurricanes Frances, Jean, and Wilma like champions. Once established as tree form or hedge they require little in the way of water. Do not seem to be bothered by pests or disease. My cardinals & painted buntings love to hide in them & eat from the feeders hanging on them. I have succesfully propagated this from cuttings. Green cuttings stuck into moist pearlite. It took about 10 or 12 weeks before they were ready to be put in soil.

Neutral rjewyo On Apr 7, 2005, rjewyo from Ventura, CA wrote:

Southern Calif.
We have 12 ( 10ft ) of these planted (for 7 months) in 4'x4' soil areas within a long cemented area on the side of our house. They were gorgerous till the last rain! We've had a great deal of rain over the past months. The plants/leaves are now brown @ the top...look dead...the soil (clay with amendment) is still wet! I cut back one of them and took it to the garden store. Was told...could be root rot! What do you think? Should I fertize now that I've cut them back about 8-10 inches? Or is it the water, and do they need to just dry out?

Neutral aapplegate4 On Jan 21, 2005, aapplegate4 from Redlands, CA wrote:

Does any one know is this tree is poison to dogs? Its cousin the podocarpus macrophyllus is very much so. I need to know if the Podocarpus gracilior is. thanks

Positive palmbob On Apr 28, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

East AFrican native that is one of the most commonly planted landscape trees in southern California (literally everywhere you look almost, you will see this tree in either someone's yard or in a business landscaping setting). It grows up to 60' tall and has a wonderful soft look to the foliage that makes it look almost like green clouds on a stem. The leaves a small and lime green to dark green, thin, lancelote and about 1" or so long and very tightly spaced. These trees are commonly used as hedges, screens, specimen trees, accents... they are very easy to grow, moderately fast growers and don't need excessive water... older trees are pretty drought tolerant and rarely if ever need to be watered.

Positive vicque On Apr 30, 2003, vicque from Coronado, CA wrote:

This is a beautiful tree. Ours is about 40 feet high and probably 50 years old. However, we live on the coast, right next to the beach in Southern CA, and this tree should not have been planted here. The reason is that it does not tolerate salt, either salt spray or brackish groundwater (which we have). Because of this intolerance, the tree's roots remain shallow instead of going down into the groundwater, and they suck up all the water that I put on every other plant in my garden. So my podocarpus tree is gorgeous, but the rest of the garden plants are a bit thin.

My neighbors ask me about every year if I am planning to cut it down any time soon. The reason for this is that the tree sheds leaves year round. I don't mind the leaf shed because the leaves are small (about the size of a paperclip) and I just push them around everything else and use them for mulch. But it is a factor if a person is thinking of planting a podocarpus.

The tree seems to have no diseases nor attract any nasty vermin.

A healthy full-grown podocarpus in a suburban garden really needs thinning every two years at least, or else the canopy becomes so dense that nothing around can see the light. For a large tall tree, a pruning job can become quite expensive, and requires someone who knows what he is doing.

Neutral Ulrich On Aug 2, 2002, Ulrich from Manhattan Beach, CA (Zone 11) wrote:

P. macrophylus is very similar.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Concord, California
Fallbrook, California
Norwalk, California
Pasadena, California
Perris, California
Reseda, California
Rocklin, California
San Rafael, California
Santa Cruz, California
Spring Valley, California
Sunnyvale, California
Ventura, California
Visalia, California
Bartow, Florida
Hobe Sound, Florida
Port Charlotte, Florida
Vero Beach, Florida

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