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NZ Plants

Phyllocladus alpinus - mountain toatoa

Celery pine family: Phyllocladaceae

Phyllocladus alpinus is a many-branched shrub or small tree. Seedling plants have narrow, flattened needle-like leaves. Adult plants have flattened photosynthetic leaf-like stems (phylloclades). The thick phylloclades are undivided, usually have a waxy grey-blue covering and margins are toothed to lobed.  Minute scale-like leaves are formed on segment margins. Small, fleshy ovule cones are formed.
An endemic species found at higher elevations from the central North Island to lower elevations on the South Island.
is a small genus with three endemic species, one species in Tasmania and one species found from New Guinea to Borneo & the Philippines.  It is sometimes placed in the Podocarpaceae.

Vegetative characteristics

Reproductive characteristics

Adult plant form: tree up to 10 m

Pollen and ovule cones: on the same or separate  trees

Phylloclade form: undivided, of variable shape

Pollen cone: 4-6 mm long

Phylloclade size: 5-25 mm long x 3-12 mm wide  

Ovule cone: small, globular, 1-5 fertile cone scales and sterile bracts

Phylloclade arrangement: singly along stem to almost opposite one another

Ovule cone position: lateral on stems of phylloclades, or at phylloclade margins

Phylloclade margin: toothed to lobed

Ovule coverings: a single covering (integument)

Adult leaves (denticles): scale-like, 0.5-2 mm, on margin of phylloclade

Ovule pore (micropyle): directed upward

Juvenile leaves: singly on stem, narrow-linear (needle-like) up to 15 mm , deciduous

Mature seed cone: each seed develops a white aril at the base, enclosed by enlarged sterile bracts, that turn reddish or purplish

Stem(receptacle) below seed: stalk not fleshy