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Pilgerodendron uviferum

Pilgerodendron uviferum - Guaitecas cypress, Ciprés de las Guaitecas
  • Pilgerodendron uviferum - Guaitecas cypress, Ciprés de las Guaitecas - Click to enlarge
  • Pilgerodendron uviferum branches - Click to enlarge
  • Pilgerodendron uviferum tree - Click to enlarge


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Product Information


Scientific name: Pilgerodendron uviferum  (D.Don) Florin 1930

Synonyms: Juniperus uvifera D.Don, Libocedrus tetragona (Hook.) Endl., Libocedrus uvifera (D.Don) Pilg., Thuja tetragona Hook.

Common names: Guaitecas cypress (English), Ciprés de las Guaitecas (Spanish)



Trees to 20 m tall, evergreen, dioecious, trunk monopodial, erect, to 1.5 m d.b.h. Bark brown, becoming fibrous and fissured, exfoliating in long strips, weathering grey-brown. Branches spreading horizontally and assurgent at ends, higher order branches slender, forming a narrowly conical to pyramidal, in old trees broad rounded or even flat-topped crown. Foliage branches numerous, crowded, spreading or assurgent, ultimate branchlets short, slender but rigid, densely covered by scale leaves and thereby quadrangular, semi-deciduous. Leaves scale-like, decussate, occasionally in whorls of 3, short decurrent at base, covering shoot, imbricate, forming 4(6) rows, monomorphic, (broad) lanceolate, the free part reflexed, narrowly triangular, carinate abaxially, 2.5-6 × 1-2.2 mm on ultimate branchlets, on older branchlets up to twice that size; margins entire. Apex obtuse, epistomatic, adaxial leaf face with numerous conspicuous stomata, leaf colour dark green, with a whitish stomatal band. Pollen cones terminal, solitary, cylindrical, 5-10 × 2-2.5 mm. Microsporophylls 12-20, decussate, triangular to nearly rhombic, more or less rostrate, subpeltate, bearing 4-8(-10) abaxial, small, globose pollen sacs. Seed cones terminal on foliage branchlets, subtended by 4 decussate, narrower and longer leaves, maturing within one year to cones 8-12 × 4-6 mm, with distally spreading scales. Bract-scale complexes in 2 decussate pairs, elliptic to obtrullate, with upper (fertile) pair 7-11 × 3-5 mm and lower pair lanceolate and half that size, concavo-convex, with a large portion of the bract protruding subapically near the widest portion of the scale. Margins papillose, colour reddish brown or brown, the inner surface smooth, grooved or ribbed towards base, lustrous light brown or whitish. Columella conspicuous, a small spike 2-3 mm long. Seeds 3-4 per cone, conical or triangular, with a basal hilum, 3 × 1.5-2 mm, pale yellowish brown. Wings 2, marginal, of very unequal size, largest wing 6-7 × 3-3.5 mm, obovate-elliptic, smallest wing a narrow strip.

Southern Chile and southern Argentina from about 40°S to 55°S on Tierra del f principle and Isla del Estado. Forming groves in temperate rain forests and bogs with Fitzroya in the north and Nothofagus species in the south; 0-600(-1000) m.


Conservation Status

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable

Pilgerodendron uviferum has a long history of exploitation that dates back several centuries. It is estimated that since the start of the 20th century (within the last three generations), there has been a decline of more than 30% in its area of occupancy and in the quality of its habitat. The principle drivers for this reduction have been logging and forest clearance for agriculture and pastoralism. The decline is ongoing. As a result, it is assessed as Vulnerable under the criteria for A2.

At its northern distributional limit it occurs as isolated subpopulations in both the Coastal and Andean ranges of Chile and Argentina. It becomes more abundant to the south and characterizes the Chilean Archipelagos south of 44°S. In Argentina it is much less abundant, and is only found at scattered sites.

It has an altitudinal range from sea-level to 1,000 m. Typically it is associated with Fitzroya in the coastal range on poorly drained, thin gley soils. In most of its southern distribution it is associated with many species of the evergreen and Coigüe de Magallanes forest type, especially with Nothofagus betuloides, Nothofagus nitida, Tepualia stipularis and other species that are adapted to wet soils. There are large sub-populations in the Andes of Palena, Aysén and Magallanes where wetland mallines dominate.

Owing to timber cutting, cipres forest have been dramatically degraded and destroyed, particularly in Chile's XI Region. Large-scale destruction of the forest during colonial times and the widespread opening up of the lowland area have led to the extinction of the species from much of its original distribution. Illegal harvesting is still occurring in many forests. Extensive fire setting and grazing have prevented regeneration, contributing to Pilgerodendron's decline. The most northern populations are severely fragmented and isolated, mainly as the result of conversion of native forest to industrial plantations.

The timber of Pilgerodendron is decay resistant and has been heavily exploited for building and construction. In rural areas it is frequently used for bridges, poles, fencing, boats and furniture.

Argentina: About two thirds of the remaining Argentinian forests are within protected areas such as Parques Nacionales Nahuel Huapi, P.N. Los Glaciares and P.N. Los Alerces (Rovere et al. 2002). In Chile, small populations occur in many protected areas e.g. Puyehueand Torres del Paine. This species was placed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in 1975, which has reduced international trade.





  • 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 CodePILJWGP968
Weight1.5 kg
Height30 - 35 cm

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