podocarpus hedge

The Popular Podocarpus

podocarpusA very common, frequently planted landscape hedge in North-Central Florida is the podocarpus, also called Japanese Yew.  It’s favored for its long, slender, evergreen leaves, ease of maintenance, and tolerance for hedging in tight places.  But did you know that podocarpus translated from Greek is “foot fruit”?

On older growth, podocarpus bushes produce a fleshy dark purple fruit with blue-colored round seed pods on the end that resemble a foot.  These fruits are rarely noticed or seen, likely because they are pruned off when the bush is hedged.

podocarpus seeds and fruitThe fruits are edible for human consumption, however the seed pods are toxic, so it is recommended to avoid eating them altogether.  Leave them for the birds to enjoy instead while you take pleasure in your lovely Florida-friendly hedge.

For more information on podocarpus, visit https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/st495 or call your local UF/IFAS Extension Marion County at 352-671-8400.