There has been some confusion between this species and Podocarpus latifolius, both of which are treated here as distinct species.. Podocarpus latifolius is usually considered to be endemic to S. Africa, whilst this species is native to large areas of tropical Africa. However, in some treatments Podocarpus latifolius is said to have a very wide range which includes the range of Podocarpus milanjianus in tropical Africa as well as its own range in subtropical S. Africa - in these treatments Podocarpus milanjianus is given as a synonym of Podocarpus latifolius.
We have attempted to separate the uses of the two species here (they are very similar) but the description of the wood is likely to contain elements of both species[
Afrocarpus falcatus milanjianus (Rendle) Silba
Podocarpus ulugurensis Pilg.
Common Name: East African Yellowwood
Podocarpus milanjianus is an evergreen tree that can grow up to 35 metres tall, exceptionally to 40 metres. The straight, cylindrical bole can be up to 150cm in diameter (exceptionally to 300cm), and unbranched for 10 - 20 metres; sometimes there are buttresses at the base[
The tree provides a valuable wood that is traded commercially,and also has minor local food and medicinal uses. It is occasionally planted to provide shade in plantations, to aid reforestation, and is grown as an ornamental and roadside tree, having a characteristic appearance with its conical shape and bright green glossy leaves[
Podocarpus milanjianus is the most widespread Podocarp species in Africa, it is very common and although there are localized threats these are not thought to be resulting in significant declines. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
Tropical Africa - Nigeria to southern Sudan, south through east Africa to Angola, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique
Tropical evergreen rainforest, cloud forest, and dwarf forest at higher elevations; at elevations from 900 - 3,250 metres[
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.
People occasionally eat the fleshy receptacles at the base of the seeds[
An infusion of the bark is used in the treatment of stomachache[
A decoction of the leaves is used as a vermifuge[
The plant has been used in afforestation on a small scale in several African countries, within and perhaps without its natural range[
The tree is used to provide shade in coffee, cocoa and banana plantations[
The bark is used as waterproof cover for bee-hives[
This species is an important timber tree in many parts of tropical Africa. Its wood is valued for carpentry and joinery as it is light coloured, even grained, easily worked, and large trees yield good sizes of sawn timber. More specialized uses requiring high grade timber are veneer, furniture making, cabinet making, interior trim, household utensils, and wood carving[
The following description of the wood was given for Podocarpus latifolius, with this species given as a synonym. It very likely also applies to this species:-
The heartwood is pale yellowish brown, and not demarcated from the sapwood. The grain is straight, occasionally spirally; the texture fine and even. Reddish streaks of compression wood may be present. Resin is absent, and the wood has no distinctive odour[
]. The wood is moderately lightweight; resistant to acids but not durable; easy to saw and work with machine and hand tools, having little dulling effects on cutting edges[
]. It can be planed to a smooth finish; has a tendency to split upon nailing and so pre-boring is recommended; it holds screws well but requires support in drilling and mortising because of its brittleness[
]. The gluing, painting, varnishing and staining properties are moderately good. Steam bending gives moderate results, but turning properties are good. The peeling and slicing properties are good; good-quality but brittle veneer can be produced from the wood[
]. The wood of trees from Sudan has a high lignin content and was found difficult to pulp[
The wood, often traded as ‘podo’, is highly valued for furniture and ship building, but it is also used for poles, panelling, boxes, veneer and plywood. It is popular for making butchers’ blocks because it is fairly hard, without scent, and does not chip easily. It is suitable for construction, flooring, joinery, interior trim, vehicle bodies, railway sleepers, toys, novelties, agricultural implements, musical instruments, coffins, food containers, vats, carving, pattern making, matches, turnery, hardboard and particle board, and it is considered a high-quality pulpwood[
The wood is used for fuel[
The seed can be sown at any time of the year in a sandy soil, though it is probably best sown as soon as it is ripe[
]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on until large enough to plant out.
Cuttings of half-ripe terminal shoots, 5 - 10cm long, in a frame[