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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Afrocarpus falcatus (Podocarpus gracilior) - Fern Pine

Evergreen conifer, upright to broadly oval or dome-shaped habit, moderate to fast growing, ranging from 20-60' x 20' wide. Several large branches giving rise to lots of small branches. Can be pretty decent green or can be yellowish like this one.

Confusion of the name is never ending. Once called Podocarpus gracilior then Afrocarpus gracilior, and now Afrocarpus falcatus. We will stick to the most current system I guess but we may always call this one Podocarpus gracilior.



Leaves evergreen, alternate, simple, needle-like or linear, often slightly sickle-shaped (hence the specific epithet falcatus), waxy blue green or yellowish green, 1-2" long, about 1/4" wide. Often sharply pointed. Usually in pairs, though maybe offset.





Stems are green, deeply grooved, fairly thin and fine textured and squarish in cross section. Bark is generally pretty smooth, eventually tan to brown or gray, with small fissures and small plates.

Small green strobili occurring on separate trees.


Small purple colored fleshy cones about 1/3" diameter. Remember its a conifer and not a flowering tree so it has cones and not fruit. I have never seen them produce fruit here in Santa Cruz. This picture is from SoCal.



Misidentification:

Locations: Lots, way more than the other species.
1400 Ocean St, SC is a pretty typical one.

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