Versatile plants grown for their good-looking foliage and interesting form. They are adaptable to many climates and have many uses. Make good screens and background plants. Foliage generally resembles that of related yews (Taxus), but leaves of the better-known species are longer, broader, and lighter in color. If a male plant is growing nearby, female plants bear fruit after many years, producing small, fleshy fruit rather than cones. Grow well (if slowly) in most soils but may develop chlorosis (yellow leaves with green veins) where soil is alkaline. Tolerate salt spray and resist pests. Not browsed by deer.
P. elongatus. For plants sold under this name, see P. gracilior
P. gracilior. FERN PINE. Tree, often grown as an espalier. Zone TS; USDA 10-11. From eastern Africa. To 2060 ft. tall, 1020 ft. wide. Among the cleanest, most pest-free trees for street, lawn, patio, garden; good as big shrub, as hedge, in container.
Method of propagation determines growth habit. If grown from seed, plants are upright even when young (and stay that way); these plants are usually sold as P. gracilior. In youth, they have branches set somewhat sparsely with glossy, dark green leaves 24 in. long, in. wide. With age, they produce 1- to 2-in., soft grayish green to bluish green leaves that are more closely spaced on branches. Stake seedling plants until a strong trunk develops.
If grown from cuttings or grafts of a mature tree, plants have the smaller, more closely set leaves just described, but they have very limber branches and are often reluctant to make strong vertical growth. These more willowy plants, suitable for espalier, hanging pots, or growing as vines along fences, are often sold as P. elongatus. Given staking and tying, P. elongatus types eventually become upright trees, though their foliage mass persists in drooping for some time. An exception is P. 'Icee Blue', which has striking blue-gray foliage and shrubby, upright growth to 25 ft. tall and wide.
P. macrophyllus. SOUTHERN YEW. Shrub or tree. Zones LS, CS, TS; USDA 8-11. Native to eastern China, Japan. Generally narrow and upright; to 1550 ft. tall, 615 ft. wide. Bright green leaves 4 in. long, in. wide. Good as a street or lawn tree, screen, or large shrub; limber enough to espalier. Easily pruned as clipped hedge or topiary. Does well in containers. Very heat tolerant.
P. m. 'Maki'. SHRUBBY YEW PINE. Slower growing and smaller than the species, reaching just 815 ft. tall, 24 ft. wide. Dense and upright, with leaves to 3 in. long, in. wide. A choice shrub; one of the best container plants for outdoor or indoor use. Excellent as a hedge.
P. nagi (Nageia nagi). BROADLEAF PODOCARPUS. Tree. Zones CS, TS; USDA 9-11. From Japan, where it reaches 8090 ft. tall. In the South, more commonly seen at 1520 ft. tall, 68 ft. wide. Pendulous branchlets; leathery, smooth, dark green, sharp-pointed leaves to 13 in. long, 1 in. wide. Grows upright in youth without staking; plant in groves for slender sapling effect. Makes a decorative foliage pattern against wood or masonry background. Excellent tall screen, hedge, accent or container plant.