Characteristics of Henkel’s Yellowwood Tree (Podocarpus henkelii) in the Wild

Podocarpus henkelii
Henkel’s Yellowwood or Henkel-se-Geelhout is a conifer tree species native to South Africa and in the Podocarpaceae family. This tree is often planted as an ornamental tree in gardens or large yards. This makes it a valuable tree for its attractive shape and drooping foliage like the Babylon Willow (Salix babylonica) tree.

This Henkel’s Yellowwood tree is known as one of Africa’s prized Yellowwood trees. It can be easily distinguished from other Podocarpus species due to its long and slender leaves.

Henkel’s Yellowwood trees often grow with an upright main trunk and if the tree grows large it creates a large pyramidal canopy.

Henkel’s Yellowwood trees are found growing in South Africa, to be precise in the provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. At this location, these trees occupy the afro-montane forest in the Drakensberg mountains.

Although it is found in abundance in the wild, this tree is protected in South Africa.


Characteristics of Henkel’s Yellowwood Leaf

Podocarpus henkelii Leaf
Source : Hunt

The leaves are similar to those of the Brown Pine (Podocarpus neriifolius), but are longer and dangling.


Characteristics of Henkel’s Yellowwood Fruit

Podocarpus henkelii Fruit
Source : Google Images

As a conifer tree, Henkel’s Yellowwood produces cone-shaped fruit.

The seeds contain germination inhibitors so, if the seeds are not eaten by birds or other animals, they may take a very long time to germinate, because they do not go through the natural processes the seeds go through when they are in the bird’s stomach.


Characteristics of Henkel’s Yellowwood Tree

Podocarpus henkelii Tree
Source :

Like most Yellowwood trees, Henkel’s Yellowwood is also classified as dioecious, with separate male and female trees.

The tree’s shape is neat, attractive, and the foliage is very decorative which makes it suitable as an ornamental tree rather than a wood-producing tree. Mature Henkel’s Yellowwood trees can reach a height of 30-35 meters.

The tree is tough because it can withstand hot and cold temperatures and is tolerant of a variety of soils. However, Henkel’s Yellowwood trees will do well in areas that are slightly moist and with deep soil.


Henkel’s Yellowwood seeds can be propagated by seedling or grafting. For how to sow the seeds from fruit harvested from under the tree, it can take years to germinate.

Farmers prefer to graft over seedlings to reproduce Henkel’s Yellowwood trees.


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