Questions? AskAuckland

NZ Plants

Libocedrus plumosa - kawaka, kaikawaka

Cypress family: Cupressaceae

Libocedrus plumosa  is a tall tree with a pyramidal shape when young and small scale-like leaves that are compressed and flattened to the stem stem into four rows forming a lateral pair and a dorsal-ventral pair. The lateral leaves are much larger than the dorsal and ventral leaves and the ultimate branches are flattened giving a feathery effect to the foliage. Seed cones are small and woody, with a distinctive sharp spine on the outer bracts and release seeds while attached to the tree.

An endemic species found in lowland forest throughout New Zealand.

Vegetative characteristics

Reproductive characteristics

Adult plant form: tree up to 25 m

Pollen and ovule cones: on the same tree

Adult leaf form: sheathing, triangular, closely overlapping two dorsal/ventral rows

Pollen cone: 5-8 mm long with 10-14 fertile scales

Adult leaf size: lateral leaves up to 5mm; dorsal-ventral leaves up to 2.5 mm

Ovule cone: ovoid, 5-8 mm wide with two sterile and two fertile bracts arranged in opposite pairs; a small fertile cone scale is on the inner surface of each of the two uppermost bracts

Adult leaf arrangement: in pairs arranged in two lateral rows and two dorsal-ventral rows

Ovule position: two upright ovules on the upper surface of each fertile cone scale

Juvenile leaf form: linear, needle-like becoming triangular

Ovule coverings: a single covering (integument); after fertilisation the ovule is covered by the enlarged fertile scale

Juvenile leaf size: up to 10 mm

Ovule pore (micropyle): directed upward

Juvenile leaf arrangement: spiral, spreading out from the stem becoming in two lateral rows.

Mature seed cone: spherical and woody, 10-15 mm diam.; curved spine on the back of each woody bract ; up to four winged seeds are released when cone opens