|A mature Podocarpus latifolius growing in a Cape Town botanical garden.|
Podocarpus latifolius (broad-leaved yellowwood or real yellowwood, Afrikaans: Opregte-geelhout, Northern Sotho: Mogôbagôba, Xhosa: Umcheya, Zulu: Umkhoba) is a large evergreen tree up to 35 m high and 3 m trunk diameter, in the conifer family Podocarpaceae; it is the type species of the genus Podocarpus.
The real yellowwood is a large evergreen tree that grows up to 30 meters in height. It grows relatively slowly but forms a wood of exceptional quality.
The leaves are strap-shaped, 25-40 mm long on mature trees or up to 100 mm long on young trees, and 6-12 mm broad, with a bluntly pointed tip. The species name "latifolius" is Latin for "broad-leaved". The bright-coloured foliage of new growth stands out against the dark leaves of mature foliage.
The cones of this dioecious tree are berry-like, with a single (rarely two) 7-11 mm seed apical on an 8-14 mm pink-purple aril; the aril is edible and sweet. The male (pollen) cones are 10-30 mm long.
It is native to the moister southern and eastern areas of South Africa, from coastal areas of the Western Cape east to KwaZulu-Natal and north to eastern Limpopo. Pockets are naturally found further north in and around Zimbabwe.
It is commonly found in afro-temperate forests and often in mountainous areas. In harsh or exposed areas it tends to become stunted, small and dense.
It is a slow-growing tree but exceptionally long-lived, and is increasingly grown as an ornamental feature in South African gardens. The unusual texture of the foliage is a reason for its growing popularity. The bright edible berries attract birds, which spread the seed.