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Podocarpus totara

Podocarpus totara
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Product Information

Scientific name: Podocarpus totara  G.Bennett ex D.Don  1832

Synonyms:Nageia totara (G.Benn. ex D.Don) F.Muell., Podocarpus variegatus auct.

Common names:Totara, Mahogany pine, Taitea (Maori)



Tree to 30(-40) m tall, with trunk to 2(-3.6) m in diameter, often fluted. Bark thick, reddish brown, fibrous, weathering gray, peeling in long, persistent strips, and finally becoming deeply furrowed. Crown conical at first, becoming deeply dome-shaped with age and ultimately opening out and becoming irregular, with massive horizontal to upwardly angled branches bearing numerous thin branchlets densely clothed with foliage. Twigs yellowish green, prominently grooved between the attached leaf bases. Resting buds pointed, 1.5-2 mm long, with tightly overlapping, narrow bud scales with elongate, pointed tips extending beyond the mass of the bud. Leaves densely and evenly spaced along the branchlets, standing out stiffly all around them and directed slightly forward or flattened more or less into a plane on either side of the twig by twisting of the leaf bases, somber brownish green to yellowish green or bluish green above, with broad, grayish green stomatal bands occupying most of the lower surface, (1-)1.5-2.5(-3) cm long, (2.5-)3-4 mm wide (but just 1-2 mm wide in juveniles). Pollen cones1-2 cm long and 3-4(-6) mm wide, one to three (or four) on a very short, leafless stalk to 2 mm long. Seed cones on a very short, leafless stalk to 3 mm long, without basal bracteoles, the reproductive part with two or three (or four) bracts, these and the axis becoming very swollen and juicy at maturity, bright red, almost spherical, 4-6 mm in diameter. Fertile seed scales one or two, the combined seed coat and epimatium with a thin black skin over a hard inner shell, 3-5 mm long by 2-3 mm thick, with a low crest along one side and a low, blunt beak.

Throughout North Island and South Island (New Zealand) but most abundant in the center of North Island. Sometimes forming pure stands but more commonly a dominant or subdominant in mixed, lowland, montane, and even subalpine podocarp and hardwood forests; 0-480(-600) m.


Conservation Status

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern

(The historical decline, while partly irreversible due to land use changes, has now turned into an increase in many of the forests where Podocarpus totara was logged in the past. This will in due course result in an increase in mature trees. As a result this species is listed 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 CodePODE5XYM3

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