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Similar but less problematic plants:
Cephalotaxus harringtonia Cephalotaxus harringtonia 'Fastigiata' bark
Podocarpus macrophyllus is often confused with:
Araucaria heterophylla Araucaria heterophylla
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Nerium oleander Flower Form
Prunus caroliniana Carolina Cherry Laurel Flowers
Ligustrum japonicum Ligustrum japonicum 'Silver Star'

Podocarpus macrophyllus

Phonetic Spelling
poh-doh-KAR-pus mak-roh-FY-lus
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

This is a densely compact evergreen conifer shrub or narrow, conical tree that grows well in coastal NC and grows up to 6.5' tall, although the tree form of this plant can grow up to 50'. In colder regions, it can be used as a container plant to be brought in from the outdoors during the winter months.  It adapts well to shearing so that it is sometimes used in topiary design. Its tolerance for low light allows for good growth in brightly lit rooms as a houseplant.  You may see this plant in commercial buildings such as offices or shopping malls, growing under skylights.  Where it is winter hardy, it can be grown as a large hedge or screen.  The foliage is pleasantly fragrant when crushed.  This plant can also be grown as a specimen and background plant. 

Prefers rich, slightly acidic, moist, well-drained, fertile soils in full sun to part shade.  The plant is tolerant of shade but intolerant of wet soils.  This plant likes medium relative humidity and has a slow growth rate. This plant is salt tolerant, drought tolerant, and displays some tolerance to heat. Although it is non-flowering, the pollen cones are yellowish and elongated, the seeds are light blue and fleshy, and the stalk enlarged and red.  While these fleshy red arils are edible, children may be tempted to eat the round seeds which resemble fruits and are poisonous. This plant has no serious pest or disease problems and is resistant to deer.

Indoor plants may develop scale. Chlorosis (yellowing of the leaves) occurs in alkaline soils.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Densely compact shrub with alternate, spiral, linear leaves
  • Midrib of flattened leaves raised on both sides
  • Evergreen gymnosperm

CAUSES ONLY LOW TOXICITY IF EATEN.  Children may eat the fleshy seeds that resemble fruits.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Podocarpus macrophyllus var. maki
Tags:
#evergreen#small tree#houseplant#container plant#wildlife plant#conifer#shade tolerant#fragrant leaves#low maintenance#winter interest#topiary#hedges#cpp#deer resistant#screening#fantz#bird friendly#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Podocarpus macrophyllus var. maki
Tags:
#evergreen#small tree#houseplant#container plant#wildlife plant#conifer#shade tolerant#fragrant leaves#low maintenance#winter interest#topiary#hedges#cpp#deer resistant#screening#fantz#bird friendly#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Podocarpus
    Species:
    macrophyllus
    Family:
    Podocarpaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southern China to Northern Myanmar, Taiwan, Japan
    Wildlife Value:
    Birds are attracted to the fruit
    Edibility:
    Fruits may be eaten out of hand or added to pies, cakes, and jellies.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 15 ft. 0 in. - 50 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 6 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Columnar
    Pyramidal
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Good Cut
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Female cones have 1-2 seeds borne on top of a swollen, fleshy aril. The aril is purplish and less than an inch in diameter. Male cones are clustered in yellowish-green strobili. Aril's are edible but seeds are poisonous.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Description:
    Non-flowering; pollen cones yellowish and elongated
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Waxy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Long-lasting
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Other/more complex
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Linear
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are alternate, simple, congested and spirally arranged, broad linear-lanceolate, flattened, bluntly acute, yew-like, leathery, narrow, dark green in color and with a lighter midrib that is distinct on both surfaces. Leaves are arranged in dense spirals. They are fragrant when bruised.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Container
    Houseplants
    Patio
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Foundation Planting
    Hedge
    Screen/Privacy
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Heat
    Salt
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    CAUSES ONLY LOW TOXICITY IF EATEN. Nausea, vomiting (colic in horses), diarrhea.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Unidentified
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Seeds