March 24
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Plant Species of the genus Afrocarpus

Information about this genus
Name: Afrocarpus
Cultivation: CULTIVATION: These are somewhat slow-growing trees, suitable for planting in parks and avenues in warm-temperate and subtropical climates with adequate rainfall. Given a deep, well-drained and reasonably fertile soil they continue to increase in girth and crown spread for a century or more, developing a dense, shade-giving canopy when growing in the open. They are affected by few pests or diseases and require almost no shaping. Propagation is normally from seed, sown fresh after removing the fleshy coating.
Description: The 6 or so species of this African genus of conifers were until recently included in Podocarpus (and for a brief period in Nageia). In their native habitats they are tall forest trees with massive trunks and occur in widely separated mountain regions of central, eastern and southern Africa. One species is known only from the island of Sao Tom? off Gabon, while another, Afrocarpus usambarensis from the Mitumba Mountains of Uganda and Rwanda, is thought to be Africa?s tallest tree, at up to 250 ft (75 m). All species have attractive bark that peels off in flakes or strips from older trunks. Leaves are leathery and narrow, like larger versions of yew leaves. As in most podocarps, male (pollen) and female (seed) organs are borne on different trees; however it is the female ?cones? that provide the main character distinguishing Afrocarpus from Podocarpus. Instead of having a swollen, fleshy stalk with one or two tough-skinned seeds attached to its apex (as in Podocarpus), they have a relatively thin stalk with a single, usually larger seed that has a thick, juicy outer layer and an inner ?stone? surrounding the embryo. The seed thus mimics the fruits of some flowering plants, such as cherries. The Asian genus Nageia is somewhat similar, but differs in having leaves with no midvein.

Specie Vernacular Zone
Afrocarpus falcatus 9-11
Afrocarpus gracilior 10-12

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