SelecTree: Tree Detail
AFRICAN FERN PINE
Photo Locations: San Francisco, CA, Balboa Park - San Diego, CA, Cal Poly State University - San Luis Obispo, CA, Nipomo, CA and Los Angeles County Arboretum - Arcadia, CA
The African fern pine, one of relatively few conifers native to Africa, was recently separated from the genus Podocarpus into a new genus, Afrocarpus. The Afrocarpus cone lacks the fleshy, often brightly colored, structure (called a receptacle) of Podocarpus cones. Despite what is described in many books, this species does not produce flowers or fruits; it is a conifer, but recurring confusion arises because instead of producing woody cones like most conifers, the fern pines produce fleshy, greenish yellow, plum-like cones. This species is often planted as a hedge or screening tree. Afrocarpus falcatus has a HPWRA (Hawai'i Pacific Weed Risk Assessment) score of 0 (Low Risk), and the Plant Pono link is https://plantpono.org/pono-plants/afrocarpus-falcatus/.
Native to Eastern South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe.
Trees may be referred to as male or female.
An Afrocarpus falcatus in City of Santa Barbara Alameda Park is registered as a California Big Tree. It measures 87 feet high, with a trunk circumference of 158 inches and a crown spread of 62 feet.
Additional Common Names
OUTENIQUA YELLOWWOOD, COMMON YELLOWWOOD, SICKLE LEAVED YELLOWWOOD, AFRICAN FERN PINE, BASTARD YELLOWWOOD, YELLOW WOOD
Erect and requires ample growing space.
Has Evergreen foliage.
Height: 50 - 65 feet.
Growth Rate: 12 to 36 Inches per Year.
Longevity Greater than 150 years.
Leaves Lanceolate to Linear, Bluish Green or Silver or Gray Green, No Change, Evergreen.
Flowers Inconspicuous. Flowers in Spring. Has either male or female reproductive parts (dioecious). Trees may be sold as male or female.
Green to Purple Cone, Small (0.25 - 0.50 inches), fruiting in Fall.
Bark Light Gray, Furrowed or Smooth.
Shading Capacity Rated as Moderately Dense in Leaf.
Litter Issue is Dry Fruit.
Tree Site Conditions & Constraints
Sunset Zones 8, 9 and 14 - 24; H1, H2.
USDA Hardiness Zones 9 - 11.
Exposure Full Sun to Partial Shade.
Well Drained Soil.
Clay, Loam or Sand Texture.
Acidic Soil pH.
Seaside Tolerance is Good in Mild Zone.
Health, Safety & Environmental Concerns
Branch Strength Rated as Medium.
Root Damage Potential Rated as Low.
None Known Health Hazard.
Biogenic Emissions considered Low.
Not Deer Palatable.
Special Uses & Values
Specimen or Buffer Strip.
Espalier, Hedged or Topiary.
Cite this tree:
SelecTree. "Afrocarpus falcatus Tree Record." 1995-2021. May 14, 2021.
< https://selectree.calpoly.edu/tree-detail/afrocarpus-falcatus >
SelecTree Nursery Connection Map
Cal Poly / ESRI