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Family: Podocarpaceae

Scientific name: Podocarpus henkelii

Authority: Stapf ex Dallim. & Jacks.

Synonym: Podocarpus ensiculus Melville

Zulu names: abangqongqozi, abangqongqosi, umsonti

Other names: east Griqualand yellowwood, henkel’s yellowwood, Natal yellowwood (English), baster-outeniekwageelhout, bastergeelhout, henkel-se geelhout (Afrikaans)

Plant description: P. henkelli is an evergreen tree that is easily recognised by its long slender drooping leaves with entire margins, fissured bark, and male and female cones on separate trees. The tree is native to South Africa occurring mostly in the KwaZulu Natal and Eastern Cape regions. 

P. henkelii is a protected species due to being extremely sensitive to bark removal.


  • The bark is used as a love charm, It is chewed and spat out into the wind, as the name of the loved one is repeated. 
  • The sap is used to treat chest infections.
  • The bark is used to treat gallsickness.
  • The tree is a source of timber that is used to make furniture.
  • It is cultivated as a garden ornamental.

Safety precaution:

Using traditional medicine responsibly can enhance your overall health and well-being. Misuse and abuse can lead to complications. You can inquire about the correct use of traditional medicine from a knowledgeable herbalist and practitioner. You can also visit or email: to learn more about traditional medicine

References and further reading: 

  • Abdillahi, H.S., Stafford, G.I., Finnie, J.F. and Van Staden, J., 2008. Antimicrobial activity of South African podocarpus species. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 119(1), pp.191-194.
  • Cunningham, A.B., 1991. Development of a conservation policy on commercially exploited medicinal plants: a case study from southern Africa. Conservation of medicinal plants, 337.
  • Hutchings, A., Scott, A.H., Lewis, G., and Cunningham, A.B. 1996. Zulu medicinal plants: an inventory. Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press.
  • Palgrave, K.C., 2002. Trees of Southern Africa. Third Edition. Struik Publishers. Cape Town, RSA.
  • Watt, J.M., and Breyer-Brandwijk, M.G., 1962. Medicinal and poisonous plants of southern and eastern Africa, second edition. Livingstone, London.
  • Williams, V.L., 2003. Hawkers of health: an investigation of the Faraday street traditional medicine market in Johannesburg. Unpublished Report to Gauteng Directorate for Nature Conservation, DACEL.

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