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Podocarpus macrophyllus

Podocarpus macrophyllus
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Scientific name: Podocarpus macrophyllus (Thunberg) R.Sweet  1818

Synonyms: Margbensonia forrestii (Craib & W.W.Sm.) A.V.Bobrov & Melikyan, Margbensonia macrophylla (Thunb.) A.V.Bobrov & Melikyan, Margbensonia sweetii (C.Presl) A.V.Bobrov & Melikyan, Nageia macrophylla (Thunb.) F.Muell., Podocarpus canaliculatus Carrière, Podocarpus forrestii Craib & W.W.Sm., Podocarpus longifolia Gordon, Podocarpus sweetii C.Presl, Podocarpus verticillatus G.Don, Taxus macrophylla Thunb., Taxus makoya Forbes

Common names: Buddhist pine, Japanese yew, Southern yew, Big leaf podocarp, Luo han song (Chinese), Na-han-song (Korean), Kusamaki (Japanese)



Tree to 20 m tall or long remaining shrubby, with trunk to 0.6 m in diameter. Bark smooth, grayish brown, flaking in scales and becoming shallowly furrowed with age. Crown conical at first, remaining narrow and cylindrical or, more frequently, becoming irregularly dome-shaped and open, with numerous slender, horizontal to upwardly angled branches bearing paired or clustered twigs densely to somewhat openly clothed with foliage. Twigs thin, green to brown, prominently grooved between the attached leaf bases. Resting buds egg-shaped, 2-3 mm long and 1.5-2 mm in diameter, loosely constructed of upright, triangular bud scales with narrowed tips. Leaves pointing out and a little forward all around the twigs, often denser near the tips, leathery, lasting 2-3 years, shiny dark green (or bluish green or yellowish green) above, paler grayish green and duller beneath, (0.8-)3-10(-12) cm long (to 18 cm in juveniles, hence the scientific name, Greek for “big leaf”), (1-)4-10(-12) mm wide (to 14 mm in juveniles). Pollen cones 2-4(-5) cm long and 3-3.5 mm wide, (1-)3-5 on a very short, leafless stalk to 2 mm long. Seed cones on a short, leafless stalk (2-)5-10(-17) mm long, with two or three needlelike basal bracteoles 3-4 mm long, the reproductive part with two or three bracts, these and the axis becoming swollen, juicy, and passing through red to dark purple, (6-)10-16(-20) mm long by (7-)10-15(-25) mm thick. Fertile seed scales one or two, the combined seed coat and epimatium leathery over a hard inner shell, greenish blue to purplish black with a thin, white waxy coating, 8-12 mm long by 6-9 mm thick, rounded at the tip without a noticeable crest or beak.

Widespread in central and southern Japan (from central Honshu southward) and in central and southern China (from Jiangsu to Sichuan southward), very local in southernmost Korea, and perhaps in northern Myanmar. Scattered in the understory of warm temperate evergreen forests and in disturbed habitats like wooded roadsides and thickets; 0-500(-1,000) m.


Conservation Status

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern

(Podocarpus macrophyllus, with its constituent varieties, is very widespread and despite some decline does not qualify for any threatened category. It is therefore assessed as Least Concern)



Farjon, A. (2010). A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.

Eckenwalder, J.E. (2009) Conifers of the World: The Complete Reference. Timber Press, Portland.

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Cambridge, UK /Gland, Switzerland


Copyright © Aljos Farjon, James E. Eckenwalder, IUCN, Conifers Garden. All rights reserved.

Product CodePODF7VTY60

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