Podocarpus falcatus (P. gracilior)

Podocarpus falcatus (P. gracilior )                         Podocarpaceae

Vernacular names
Am:    Zigba                     Gr:      Zigba
Eng:   Podo                     Or:     Birbirsa

Podocarpus trees are mainly found in the southern hemisphere. These conifers, which have no cones, are related to junipers and are also known as yellow-woods. P. falcatus is a large tree of the semi-humid lower highland forest of the central and eastern Highlands in Moist and Wet Weyna Dega and Dega agroclimatic zones, 1,600-2,500 m.

Uses:  Firewood, poles, timber (furniture, boxes, plywood, panels), medicine (bark), ornamental, shade.

Description:  An evergreen tree with a straight bole to 25 m or more. BARK: Grey to dark brown, cracking and scaling into irregular rectangles.
  LEAVES: Narrow, shiny dark green, 2-5 cm, gradually tapering. Young leaves are larger and brighter, giving a green flush. CONES: 1-3 male catkins, yellow-brown, about 2 cm, female cones hard, rounded to 2 cm, very slow to develop, green with dull purple bloom, outer shell thin but inner flesh eaten by monkeys and birds.

Propagation:     Seedlings, wildings.
Seed:                  No. of seed per kg: 2,100-2.600.
Treatment:         Crack the hard woody seed coat
                                Before sowing.
Storage:         Seed can be stored for up to 2 years.
Management:   Slow growing.
                               Hardy once established.

Remarks:         The species is now rare due to over-exploitation. The wood needs preservatives and careful seasoning to prevent warping (Azene Bekele-Tesemma 1993).

These pictures show native Podocarpus trees, very near the wild meadow with the farmhouse (39).

Some Podocarpus trees,  found from a much previous era, appears admirably muscular furrowed around the extensive farmhouse area (39)  just below point  (16), which are a great pleasure for any soul with a passion for nature. Just here above is the farmhouse (39) with large Juniperus procera trees along its upper hillside. Furthermore, upwards the path turns slightly to the right towards the location  (16), just at the high plateau's outer edge and even here with many incredible stately Juniper trees.

The relationship between the Indigenous trees and their unique appearance.

The fact that this tree is related to Juniper appears with clarity, and it is in this context, difficulties arise with the seed's vulnerability. The Podocarpus tree seed and its stem are considerably longer than the corresponding comparison with the Juniper tree seed and hence higher and more vulnerable to climates and grazing animals. An unprecedented vulnerability arises because the two related species have the same peculiarity to lift their seeds up from the ground to the height of their crisp stalk. This vulnerability with an exposed uplifted grain applies, particularly to the Podocarpus tree. This species makes this seed presented with utmost sensibility and thus becomes an immediate victim on a hard and away offensive clay-soil crust.

Podocarpus falcatus (P. gracilior)

Podocarpus falcatus  (P. gracilior)
Environment & Biology

This tree is scarce at Entoto these days and does not appear to compete with the eucalyptus planted surroundings. It seems that it is no longer possible to give surviving progeny in the barren, eroded exposed lands that have been formed since the introduction of the alien eucalyptus tree over a hundred years ago. (Podocarpus Tree with Plants Map)

However, much work has been done to re-form an upper soil layer with a protective undergrowth. It would, therefore, be a very significant surprise with information about a new generation of this highly-blessed historic tree, which, however, still grows in a magical graceful and appealing landscape.

This tree has an exposed and sensitive seed-laying design opposite its otherwise healthy rugged seed coat, including its fruit (cones). Here its nut-like dry last year's pendants decorate the mighty and powerful mother trees with their seed (cones) in ancient-looking packagings that surround and protect the very fertile seed and provide inspiring, sophisticated memories from last year's season.

Podocarpus Trees Next to the Paths in Circle (B) 

The intended direction indicator allows a method to be used here with limited length in the intended dial. With this method also possible to distinguish objects more centrally located on the intended clockwork. The intended pointer clockwork gives direction, and when its outermost tip reaches its full extent at 4:30, it points to a concealed and dense forest area just south of the field (39). Consequently, as this intended pointer reaches 60% of its full length, and at four o'clock, it becomes possible to find a magnificent native Podocarpus tree to the left of the hiking trail. To see several other indigenous Podocarpus trees, it requires instead to look just below this field (39 ) and to the right side in the lower part of Circle (B). The easiest way to reach these trees is to use the crossroad, just outside the lower part of the circle (B), where these trees just above appear to hide deeply from a forgotten past. This rather wild and wavy slope is a fantastic place with several native Podocarpus falcatus trees, which muscularly proudly posing from an antique on this hilly southern slope.

The Orientation and Direction Map

to the location of Podocarpus falcatus trees.

While this type of orientation assistance is
 compatible with visitors to foreign habits,
 other requirements are demanded to fulfil
 the tradition of the native population, who 
prefer to use their own orientation in
 The landscape of the revered past. 

 The Invitation to the trees from the past, Circle (B)
The still gently upward hike shown within the Circle (B) includes the points (35), (38)(39), and constitutes both crossroads and with them belonging somewhat wild paths. This lower area of the circle (B) also includes a significant but gentle ledge that rises some metres in the hillside and provides a beautiful, charming landscape elevation.

The Canyon and its River gives direction in the Circle (B)
Two crossroads are located just to the right of the canyon and its river (35) and one in the lower part of the circle (B). The second crossroad is located to the right, just outside the ring. However, both of these crossroads align with the lower part of the circle (B). The Italian fortification (38) provides here an eastern pointing direction for both of these crossroads. Regardless, the choice of their following paths will soon contact the continued walk towards higher grounds.

An Evolutionary Legacy

 From an Aeon of Natural Wealth

Podocarpus falcatus (P. gracilior)
Erosion: Landscape Protection

The Podocarpus tree and its Ancient Biology.

This peculiarity in seed design of setting kernels to sprout with the high lift was developed at the beginning of these trees' era (evolution) and in epochs long before any human culture or species. Through this evolutionary prehistory, these seed stalks and kernels were naturally received with a moist, typically loose and absorbing soil (humus) and a surrounding of dense protective undergrowth that could hide and shield these so tender exposed vertically raised kernel stalks.

A beautiful memory that attracts modern science and art.
With glowing passion and warmth feeling, it is still spoken among the residents of Entoto about when the water level a reasonable time after the rainy season still stood one metre higher in Entoto's deep streams and its enchanting nature rock baths. It is thus quite close to the time when Entoto's mountain massif and its canyons could carry significantly higher water quantity and thus supply the population in the capital with fresh water to a much greater extent.

The Eucalyptus Problem

The Australian Eucalyptus Tree

On the Entoto mountain and many other places around Addis Ababa, the existing vegetation is Eucalyptus globulus. This is an Australian tree brought to Ethiopia some 100 years ago. At this past time, most of the area around the town had been deforested due to the need for wood construction and fuel.

The Eucalyptus trees' hostile, toxic impact.
A chemical component in the leaves and roots of Eucalyptus trees prevents the growth of both other trees and herbs. This chemical component leads to a mono-culture with eucalyptus as the only tree species and eventually no ground cover. The importance of careful research regarding knowledge in natural science is here given a severe and evident example before any foreign species is regarded as possible for an introduction into an unfamiliar and very possibly vulnerable habitat.

Conclusion and Wonderful Solution

The stalk of this seed of this tree is considerably more significant in height at an early stage of its soil germination than the equivalent of Juniper tree seed, and because they have the uniqueness of raising their seeds to the height of their brittle stems, an excellent and traditional solution arises; Rosa abyssinica.

Plant defence against herbivory 





Ethiopian Heritage Trust (UK)


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