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Saxegothaea conspicua

Saxegothaea conspicua
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Product Information

Scientific name: Saxegothaea conspicua  Lindley 1851

Synonyms: Squamataxus albertiana J.Nelson

Common names: Prince Albert’s yew, Saxegothaea, Maniú , Mañío, Mañío Hembra , Mañío Macho, Mañío de Hojas Cortas (Spanish)



Tree to 20(-30) m tall but usually much smaller, with a cylindrical, usually straight and slender trunk to 1(-2) m in diameter. Bark thin, smooth, bright reddish brown when fresh, becoming scaly and weathering gray but remaining colorfully mottled through flaking. Crown conical at first, becoming irregular with age, with horizontal branches in whorls of three to five bearing numerous, closely spaced branchlets densely clothed with foliage. Leaves standing out from the twigs at the slightly forward angle, nearly overlapping or more widely spaced, lasting 4-6 years, dark green above, waxy bluish green beneath, (0.5-)1-2.5 cm long, 2-3(-3.5) mm wide. Blades nearly parallel-sided in the middle third or more, tapering abruptly to the roundly triangular tip with a blunt point and to the roundly wedge-shaped base on a slender petiole less than 1 mm long. Pollen cones (3-)4-6 mm long and 2.5-3 mm wide, on a stalk 0.5-2 mm long. Seed cones on a stalk about 1 cm long, broadly egg-shaped to nearly spherical, light bluish green with a thin waxy film at first, maturing yellowish brown, usually irregular, with 15-20 protruding, sharply triangular seed scales, (7-)10-15(-20) mm in diameter, usually with just one to four seeds maturing and being shed through the somewhat gaping scales. Seeds spherical to egg-shaped, slightly flattened, smooth, shiny brownish yellow to orange, 3-4 mm long.

The whole complex of unusual features in Prince Albert yew, however, which John Lindley thought linked different conifer groups together, led him to his scientific name for the species, Latin for “singular or remarkable”.

Occupying a limited range in the southern Andes and adjacent coastal range in Chile from just south of Concepcion (36°S) to Chiloé Island (42°30’S), with an outlier in Aisén province (45°45’S) and also in a few locations in the adjacent lake district of Argentina in Chubut, Neuquén, and Río Negro provinces. Scattered singly or clumped in the canopy of humid mixed evergreen forests and swamp forests; (45-)250-1,000(-1,400) m.


Conservation Status

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened

Currently Saxegothaea conspicua has a relatively continuous distribution, particularly in the Andes. However, in Chile logging and fire wood extraction still occurs within its habitat and if this continues then there is the possibility of the population becoming severely fragmented, particularly in the Coastal Cordillera where most forest destruction occurs. However, presently the loss of habitat has not been sufficient for it to qualify for listing under criterion B and the population of mature individuals is too large to qualify for criteria C or D. There is a possibility that it could be listed as Vulnerable (VU) under criteria A2, A3 or A4, but more information concerning rates of deforestation and past population sizes is required. Argentinian populations are reported to be too small to affect the global listing. Presently it should be listed as Near Threatened (NT) but this species requires continued monitoring, especially in terms of selective felling and range reduction due to fire or changes in land use. Future reassessments could find that it would qualify for VU under criterion B or even criterion A if information on reduction rates are obtained.

In Chile, Saxegothaea conspicua has a relatively continuous distribution from Región VII to Región IX although it is more fragmented in the Coastal Cordillera and in the northern part of its range in the Mediterranean area. In Argentina it is restricted to a few small areas adjoining Chile; over 90% of the population is within Chile.

It is an extremely shade tolerant species and capable of root-suckering.  It is most abundant in the wetter Valdivian rainforest where it is commonly associated with Laureliopsis philippiana, Nothofagus dombeyi and Nothofagus nervosa. In the coastal Cordillera it occurs at low altitudes on poorly-drained marine and fluvio-glacial deposits or between 400-950 m above sea-level on shallow soils developed from micaschists. In these sites it is commonly associated with Drimys winteri, Ammomyrtus luma, Dasyphyllum diacanthoides, Eucryphia cordifolia and Weinmannia trichosperma. Where ranges overlap it is commonly associated with Podocarpus nubigenus.

The ever-increasing conversion of native forest in the Coastal Cordillera to commercial plantations of Pinus radiata and Eucalyptus, means that much of the habitat for this species has been lost and continues to disappear. Logging in the Andes outside of National Parks still occurs. Logging is often for firewood or is selective in order to extract young straight stemmed trees before they become contorted and multi-stemmed.

In Argentina there is no commercial use of its wood, although it may be used locally. In Chile it is highly prized for its uniform, yellow-rose colour, durable wood which is easily worked and is used for making fine furniture. It is also used for construction.

It is afforded good protection throughout its range in National Parks, particularly in the large tracts of protected areas that are contiguous between Chile and Argentina in the Andes, where there are some important old-growth forests. There is less protection in the northern part of its distribution, particularly in the Coastal Cordillera of Chile.



  • 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 CodeSAXP1NCX77
Weight3 kg
Height60 - 80 cm

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