Podocarpus gracilior Pilg.
  • H.G.A.Engler (ed.), Pflanzenr., IV, 5: 71 (1903) 

General Description

a tall tree up to 100 ft. or more high with a bole over 4 ft. in diam.; ultimate branchlets of the mature tree crowded, angular from the decurrent leaf-bases when young; terminal buds ovoid, 1/2– 3/4 lin. long; leaves in the juvenile tree loose, conspicuously plagiotropic, often subopposite, linear, long tapering to an acute point, straight or slightly falcate, up to 4 in. by 3 lin., moderately thick, in the mature tree crowded, scattered, not plagiotropic, linear, usually long and gently tapering to a sharp point, rarely shortly acute, 1–2 in. by 1/4–2 lin., coriaceous, drying dull green or brownish, midrib indistinct above, slightly raised below; male strobiles solitary or in subsessile clusters of 2 or 3, supported by broad roundish bracts, often up to 9 lin. and occasionally over 1 in. long; scales imbricate, with a broadly ovate-triangular acute blade, 1/2 lin. long; female strobiles sessile at the end of short branchlets, carrying reduced and often early deciduous leaves, the strobiles formed of a short axis, 1–1 1/2 lin. long, with 1–3 barren short ultimately deciduous scales, dry and appressed or sometimes foliaceous, spreading and recurved, the uppermost supporting an ovule; seeds ellipsoid-globose, rounded or slightly attenuated at the base, 7–10 lin. long, 6–8 lin. across, glaucous-green to purplish-brown; inner layer of seed-shell very hard, bony, slightly tubercled, up to 1 lin. thick, outer usually thinner and dry or sometimes as thick as the inner and slightly fleshy, resinous inwards.

A tree 30 to over 60 ft. high; branchlets crowded upwards in the old trees, scattered or subverticillate, angular from the decurrent leaf-bases. Vegetative buds obtuse, 1/2 lin. long. Leaves scattered, crowded on the short branchlets, linear, long and gently tapering to a sharp point, shortly contracted at the base, up to 4 in. by 3 lin. in young plants and on long shoots, mostly much shorter, 1–2 in. by 1 1/4–2 lin., coriaceous, midrib obscure above, very slender and slightly raised beneath. Male cones subsessile, subtended by a few small broad roundish bracts, axillary, solitary or in pairs or threes, straight or flexuous, mostly up to 9 lin., occasionally over 1 in. long; scales about 1 lin. long, their blades broadly ovate-triangular, acute, 1/2 lin. long. Female cones sessile at the ends of short leafy branchlets; their axis 1–2 lin. long, with or without 1 or rarely 2 small broad ovate spreading or recurved barren scales, ultimately slightly thickened; fertile scales like the preceding. Ovule obovoid-oblong, 1 1/2–2 lin. long, bluish-pruinose. Seed ellipsoid-globose, rounded or slightly attenuated at the base, 8–9 lin. long, 7–8 lin. across, purplish-brown and slightly bluish-pruinose; inner layer of seed-shell very hard, woody, up to 1 lin. thick, outer coriaceous about as thick as the inner or slightly thicker, resinous inwards.

A tree to 30 m. high, outer bark of trunk grey brown to dark brown, exfoliating in rectangular to irregular flakes 2–4–12 cm. long, 1–2–7 cm. wide, slash pink. Terminal buds of average branchlets up to 2 mm. diameter, outer bud scales narrow triangular to strap-shaped, intermediate scales triangular to deltoid with feebly developed point and scarious denticulate margins. Leaves linear to linear-lanceolate, from 10–15 mm. long and 1.5–2.5 mm. broad in senile adults, to 18 cm. long and 6 mm. broad in juveniles, stomata on both surfaces, fractured surface not showing transverse fibres. Male cones 1–3, axillary 10–15–23 mm. long, yellowish brown, terminal lobe of median scales sharply triangular, denticulate, 1.5 mm. broad. Female cones solitary on leafy or scaly branches 7–25 mm. long. Fruit green to yellowish green, ellipsoid, sometimes globose or pyriform 14–19–23 mm. long, 11–17–21 mm. diameter, woody shell 1–2 mm. thick.


HAB. Upland rain-forest at 1500–2400 m.


Tanzania Kilimanjaro, 23 Feb. 1953, Drummond & Hemsley 1266 !

Uganda Mt. Debasien, Mareyo, Jan. 1936, Eggeling 2704! & Mt. Debasien, 30 May 1939, A. S. Thomas 2953 ! ;

Tanzania Mt. Meru, 24 Feb. 1953, Hughes 160 ! ;

Tanzania Madibira road at R. Ndembera, Jan. 1954, Carmichael 339 !

Kenya Mt. Kenya, NW. side, Hutchins 400 !

British East Africa Leikipia, 6000–8000 ft., Thomson, 399! at the foot of the Aberdare range, 5300–6900 ft., Höhnel. Kenia, Hutchins, 400!

Kenya Eldama Ravine, 26 Sept. 1953, Drummond & Hemsley 4440 !

Uganda Nandi, Johnston ! Eldama Ravine, 7600 ft., Johnston ! Whyte ! Mau, 6000–8000 ft., Scott Elliot, 6959!

South Africa Zoutpansberg, {i}Houseman, Col. Herb.{/i}, 5248! Pietersburg Dist.; The Downs, {i}Rogers{/i}, 20210! (juvenile form).

Kenya Elgon, 25 Apr. 1948, Vesey-Fitzgerald in C. M. 18617 ! ;

Abyssinia Shire, Quartin Dillon & Petit, 105! Gerra Abuna Tekla Zlaimanot, Schimper, 1160! Shoa; Ankober, Roth ! Arussi Galla; Djafa, 6200–8500 ft., Ellenbeck, 1344, 1350, 1428; Geru Abas, Drake-Brockman, 244! W. Sidamo, Drake-Brockman, 205! between Surro and Rogono, Riva, 194. Southern Abyssinia, without precise locality, Stordy !

Uganda Elgon, Kaburon, Jan. 1936, Eggeling 2474 !


in E.P. IV. 5 : 71 (1903); Stapf in F.T.A. 6 (2) : 342 (1917); T.S.K. : 1 (1936); T.T.C.L. : 453 (1949); Fl. Pl. Sudan 1 : 1 (1950); I.T.U., ed. 2 : 315, fig. 66 d–g, (1952); Cuf., Enum. PI. Aeth. : 1 (1953).

in Engl. Pflanzenreich, iv. v. Taxac. 71;—Engl. Pflanzenwelt Afr. iv. v. 86, fig. 86, and Veget. Hara and Gallahochl. 11 (sphalm. P. gracilis); Pilger in Engl. & Prantl, Nat. Pflanzenf. ed. 2, p. 245, fig. 131); Burtt Davy, Flow. Pl. Transvaal, i. 101.

Taxac. in Engl. Pflanzenreich, iv. v. 71. —Engl. Pflanzenwelt Afr. iv. v. 86, fig. 81, and Veget. Harar und Gallahochl. 11 (sphalm. P. gracilis). P. elongata, A. Rich. Tent. Fl. Abyss. ii. 278; Engl. Hochgebirgsfl. Trop. Afr. 109; Pfl. Ost- Afr. C. 92. t. i. fig. B (not C-G); Oliv. in Journ. Linn. Soc. Bot. xxi. 404 (as forma ?); Hutchins, Forests of Kenia in Col. Rep. Miscell. no. 41, 17; not of L'Hérit. P. falcata, Engl. in Hochgebirgsfl. Trop. Afr. l.c., and Veget. Usambara, 68; not of R. Br.


  • 1 Farjon, A. (2001). World Checklist and Bibliography of Conifers , ed. 2: 1-309. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • 2 R. Melville (1958) Gymnospermae. Flora of Tropical East Africa 0 (0)
  • 3 (By O. Stapf.) (1933) Podocarpaceæ. Flora Capensis 5 (0)
  • 4 (By O. Stapf) (1917) Taxaceæ. Flora of Tropical Africa 6 (2)

 Information From

Flora of Tropical East Africa
Flora of Tropical East Africa. Published on the Internet; http://apps.kew.org/efloras/
Flora Capensis
Flora Capensis. Published on the Internet; http://apps.kew.org/efloras/
Flora of Tropical Africa
Flora of Tropical Africa. Published on the Internet; http://apps.kew.org/efloras/
World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
WCSP 2014. 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/ Retrieved 2011 onwards
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