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NZ Plants

Dacrycarpus dacrydioides - kahikatea, white pine

Podocarp family: Podocarpaceae

Dacrycarpus dacrydioides is New Zealand’s tallest forest tree. Adult trees have dull green overlapping scale leaves while juvenile trees have needle-like leaves often with a bronze hue. Small, fleshy, one-seeded ovule cones are formed in which the ovule is covered with both an inner integument and an outer epimatium (derived from the seed scale). After fertisation the fused bases of the bracts below the cone enlarge into a fleshy receptacle.

An endemic species found throughout New Zealand favouring moist to swampy areas.

A small genus with one species in New Zealand and eight species found in Fiji, Southeast Asia and China.

More on kahikatea: Takana Newsletter


Vegetative characteristics

Reproductive characteristics

Adult plant form: tree up to 65 m

Pollen and ovule cones: on separate trees

Adult leaf form: linear, awl-shaped (concave inner surface)

Pollen cone: 5- 10 mm long, 30-40 scales

Adult leaf size: 1-2 mm long

Ovule cone: 60-120 mm long with 2-3 bracts, one of which bears a fertile cone scale with a single ovule on the upper face

Adult leaf arrangement: spiral, flattened (appressed) to stem

Ovule cone position: terminal on short stem

Juvenile leaf form: linear, narrow

Ovule coverings: an inner covering (integument); an outer covering (epimatium) covers the  entire ovule; basal bract becomes fused to one side of ovule

Juvenile leaf size: 3-7 mm long

Ovule pore (micropyle): directed downward

Juvenile leaf arrangement: flattened in two rows, spreading from the stem

Mature seed cone: fleshy, 8-10 mm long; single seed


Stem(receptacle) below seed: fleshy, derived from basal bracts; red, yellow