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Podocarpus Tree

Podocarpus Tree

Part Number: POD-0487-6341
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Podocarpus (from the Greek, podos, meaning "foot", and karpos, meaning "fruit") is a genus of conifers, the most numerous and widely distributed of the podocarp family Podocarpaceae. The 105 species of Podocarpus are evergreen shrubs or trees from 1-25 m (rarely to 40 m) in height. The leaves are 0.5-15 cm long, lanceolate to oblong, falcate (sickle-shaped) in some species, with a distinct midrib, and are arranged spirally, though in some species twisted to appear in two horizontal ranks. The cones have two to five fused scales, of which only one, rarely two, are fertile, each fertile scale with one apical seed. At maturity, the scales become berry-like, swollen, brightly coloured red to purple and fleshy, and are eaten by birds which then disperse the seeds in their droppings. The male (pollen) cones are 5-20 mm long, often clustered several together. Many species, though not all, are dioecious.
Podocarpus macrophyllus with mature seed cones

Podocarpus and the Podocarpaceae were endemic to the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana, which broke up into Africa, South America, India, Australia-New Guinea, New Zealand, and New Caledonia between 105 and 45 million years ago. Podocarpus is a characteristic tree of the Antarctic flora, which originated in the cool, moist climate of southern Gondwana, and elements of the flora survive in the humid temperate regions of the former supercontinent. As the continents drifted north and became drier and hotter, Podocarps and other members of the Antarctic flora generally retreated to humid regions, especially in Australia, where sclerophyll genera like Acacia and Eucalyptus became predominant, and the old Antarctic flora retreated to pockets that presently cover only 2% of the continent. As Australia drifted north toward Asia, the collision pushed up the Indonesian archipelago and the mountains of New Guinea, which allowed podocarp species to hop across the narrow straits into humid Asia, with P. macrophyllus reaching north to southern China and Japan. The flora of Malesia, which includes the Malay peninsula, Indonesia, the Philippines, and New Guinea, is generally derived from Asia but includes many elements of the old Gondwana flora, including several other genera in the Podocarpaceae (Dacrycarpus, Dacrydium, Falcatifolium, Nageia, Phyllocladus, and the Malesian endemic Sundacarpus), and also Agathis in the Araucariaceae.


There are two subgenera, subgenus Podocarpus and subgenus Foliolatus, distinguished by cone and seed morphology.
P. henkelii

Subgenus Podocarpus. Cone not subtended by lanceolate bracts, seed usually with an apical ridge. Distributed in the temperate forests of Tasmania, New Zealand, southern Chile, with some species extending into the tropical highlands of Africa and the Americas.

Subgenus Foliolatus. Cone subtended by two lanceolate bracts ("foliola"), seed usually without an apical ridge. Generally tropical and subtropical distribution, concentrated in east and southeast Asia and Malesia, overlapping with subgenus Podocarpus in northeastern Australia and New Caledonia.

Species in family Podocarpaceae have been reshuffled a number of times based on genetic and physiological evidence, with many species formerly assigned to genus Podocarpus now assigned to other genera. A sequence of classification schemes have moved species between Nageia and Podocarpus, and in 1969 de Laubenfels divided the huge genus Podocarpus into Dacrycarpus, Decussocarpus (an invalid name he later revised to the valid Nageia), Prumnopitys, and Podocarpus.


Subgenus Podocarpus
section Podocarpus (eastern and southern Africa)
Podocarpus elongatus
Podocarpus latifolius
Podocarpus falcatus
section Scytopodium (Madagascar, eastern Africa)
Podocarpus capuronii
Podocarpus henkelii
Podocarpus humbertii
Podocarpus madagascariensis
Podocarpus rostratus
section Australis (southeast Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, southern Chile)
P. totara
Podocarpus alpinus
Podocarpus cunninghamii
Podocarpus gnidioides
Podocarpus lawrencei
Podocarpus nivalis
Podocarpus nubigenus
Podocarpus totara
section Crassiformis (northeast Queensland)
Podocarpus smithii
section Capitulatis (central Chile, southern Brazil, the Andes from northern Argentina to Ecuador)
Podocarpus glomeratus
Podocarpus lambertii
Podocarpus parlatorei
Podocarpus salignus
Podocarpus sellowii
Podocarpus sprucei
Podocarpus transiens
section Pratensis (southeast Mexico to Guyana and Peru)
Podocarpus oleifolius
Podocarpus pendulifolius
Podocarpus tepuiensis
section Lanceolatis (southern Mexico, Puerto Rico, Lesser Antilles, Venezuela to highland Bolivia)
Podocarpus coriaceus
Podocarpus matudai
Podocarpus rusbyi
Podocarpus salicifolius
Podocarpus steyermarkii
section Pumilis (southern Caribbean islands and Guyana highlands)
Podocarpus angustifolius
Podocarpus aristulatus
Podocarpus buchholzii
Podocarpus roraimae
Podocarpus urbanii
section Nemoralis (central and northern South America, south to Bolivia)
Podocarpus brasiliensis
Podocarpus celatus
Podocarpus guatemalensis
Podocarpus magnifolius
Podocarpus purdieanus
Podocarpus trinitensis

Subgenus Foliolatus
section Foliolatus (Nepal to Sumatra, Philippines, and New Guinea to Tonga)
P. neriifolius
Podocarpus archboldii
Podocarpus beecherae
Podocarpus borneensis
Podocarpus deflexus
Podocarpus insularis
Podocarpus levis
Podocarpus neriifolius
Podocarpus novae-caledoniae
Podocarpus pallidus
Podocarpus rubens
Podocarpus spathoides
section Acuminatus (northern Queensland, New Guinea, New Britain, Borneo)
Podocarpus dispermus
Podocarpus ledermannii
Podocarpus micropedunculatus
section Globulus (Taiwan to Vietnam, Sumatra and Borneo, and New Caledonia)
Podocarpus annamiensis
Podocarpus globulus
Podocarpus lucienii
Podocarpus nakai
Podocarpus sylvestris
Podocarpus teysmannii
section Longifoliolatus (Sumatra and Borneo, East to Fiji)
Podocarpus atjehensis
Podocarpus bracteatus
Podocarpus confertus
Podocarpus decumbens
Podocarpus degeneri
Podocarpus gibbsii
Podocarpus longifoliolatus
Podocarpus polyspermus
Podocarpus pseudobracteatus
Podocarpus salomoniensis
section Gracilis (southern China, across Malesia to Fiji)
Podocarpus affinis
Podocarpus glaucus
Podocarpus lophatus
Podocarpus pilgeri
Podocarpus rotundus
section Macrostachyus (Southeast Asia to New Guinea)
Podocarpus brassii
Podocarpus brevifolius
Podocarpus costalis
Podocarpus crassigemmis
Podocarpus tixieri
section Rumphius (Hainan, south through Malesia to northern Queensland)
Podocarpus grayii
Podocarpus laubenfelsii
Podocarpus rumphii
section Polystachyus (southern China and Japan, through Malaya to New Guinea and northeast Australia)
Podocarpus chinensis
Podocarpus chingianus
Podocarpus elatus
Podocarpus fasciculus
Podocarpus macrocarpus
Podocarpus macrophyllus
Podocarpus polystachyus
Podocarpus ridleyi
Podocarpus subtropicalis
section Spinulosus (Southeast and Southwest coasts of Australia)
Podocarpus drouynianus
Podocarpus spinulosus


Several species of Podocarpus are grown as garden trees, or trained into hedges, espaliers, or screens. Common garden species used for their attractive deep green foliage and neat habits include P. macrophyllus, known by its Japanese name Kusamaki, or occasionally as "buddhist pine" or "fern pine", P. salignus from Chile, and for a small shrub with attractive red "berries", P. nivalis. Some members of the genera Nageia, Prumnopitys and Afrocarpus are also still sold mislabeled as Podocarpus. The red, purple or bluish fleshy fruit of most species of Podocarpus are edible, raw or cooked into jams or pies, and they have a mucilaginous texture with a slightly sweet flavor. However, the fruit are slightly toxic and should therefore be eaten sparingly, especially when eaten raw. The timber of P. falcatus is used for floorboards, beams and furniture.

Some species of Podocarpus are used traditionally in their native areas for the treatment of fevers, asthma, coughs, cholera, chest complaints, arthritis, rheumatism, venereal diseases and distemper in dogs.
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