An extremely variable species in which the size of the leaf varies enormously depending on the habitat and elevation[
]. This and other variations have been used by some authorities to recognise various taxa. The following names have been used: Podocarpus macrostachys Parl., Podocarpus oleifolius var macrostachyus (Parl.) J. Buchholz & N.E. Gray, Podocarpus oleifolius var costaricensis J. Buchholz & N.E. Gray, Podocarpus oleifolius var equadorensis Silba, Podocarpus ingensis de Laubenfels and Podocarpus monteverdeensis de Laubenfels. Many of the characters used to describe these taxa fall within the morphological variation of Podocarpus oleifolius; it is not unusual to find this amount of variation is such a widely distributed species[
Assessment Information [top]
Nageia oleifolia (D.Don ex Lamb.) Kuntze
Podocarpus macrostachys Parl.
Podocarpus monteverdeensis Laub.
Common Name: Saucecillo
Photograph by: C T Johansson
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
Podocarpus oleifolius is an evergreen tree with a densely branched crown; it can grow 20 - 30 metres or more tall. The straight, cylindrical bole is up to 150cm in diameter[
]. At the highest elevations it forms a shrub or small tree in a canopy 2 - 8 metres tall[
The wood is highly valued, the tree being harvested from the wild[
Although like most members of the Podocarpaceae it is exploited for its timber, this exploitation is not sufficient to threaten such a very widespread species which is often locally abundant. This species is designated as being of 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2010)[
S. America - Bolivia; Peru; Colombia; Ecuador; Venezuela, through Central America to Mexico.
Wet forests at elevations of 1,400 - 2,700 metres in Costa Rica[
]. Cloud forests at elevations of 2,000 - 3,200 metres in Guatemala[
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
|Other Uses Rating||
Podocarpus oleifolius is a plant of moderate to high elevations in the American tropics. Within its range, the mean annual temperature is 16.8°c, with an average minimum in the coldest month of 10.0°c, and a mean annual precipitation of 1,940mm. It can tolerate short-lived, light frosts with temperatures falling to around -1°c and +4.4°c[
Plants are shade tolerant, at least when young[
Most species in this genus are tolerant of hard pruning, being able to regrow from old wood[
All parts of the plant emit an unpleasant aroma[
Species in this genus are generally slow-growing[
A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required.
The yellow wood has a fine, uniform structure and is easy to work[
]. It is used for cabinet work, carving and general carpentry[
We do not have any more information on the wood of this species, but a general description of the wood from S. American members of the genus is as follows:-
The heartwood is pale yellow to yellowish-brown; it is not distinct from the sapwood. The texture is fine and uniform, without conspicuous zones of latewood; the grain is usually straight but may be slightly interlocked; somewhat lustrous; odour and taste are absent or not distinctive in seasoned wood. The heartwood from trees grown in Belize is reported to be moderately durable in ground contact under tropical exposure; durability of other species from other areas is reported as low. The wood air seasons rapidly with little or no warping or checking. It works easily with hand and power tools; nails easily, and takes stain, varnish, and paint satisfactorily. It is used for purposes such as joinery, millwork, furniture components, boxes and crates, general construction, veneer and plywood, pulp and paper, patternmaking[
Seed - generally slow to germinate, taking one year or more[
]. Seeds that have passed through the gut of an animal germinate faster[
Cuttings should include an erect lead shoot if a good form is required[
]. If side shoots are used, the resulting plant will be prostrate[
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