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NZ Plants

Halocarpus kirkii - Kirk’s pine

Podocarp family: Podocarpaceae

Halocarpus kirkii is a tree with an attractive tapering form. Juvenile plants have large linear leaves which pass abruptly into the overlapping scale-like leaves of the adult. Small fleshy ovule cones are formed in which the ovule is inverted and covered with both an integument and an outer epimatium (derived from the seed scale). After fertilisation, the epimatium at the base of the seed expands and becomes fleshy.  Formerly known as Dacrydiuim kirkii
An endemic species found in localised populations on the central North Island.
Named after the English-born botanist, Thomas Kirk, who settled in New Zealand and made extensive collections.

Vegetative characteristics

Reproductive characteristics

Adult plant form: tree up to 25 m

Pollen and ovule cones: on separate trees

Adult leaf form: scale-like with obscure ridge (keel) on lower (outer) surface

Pollen cone: terminal on stems, up to 1 cm long

Adult leaf size: 2-3 mm

Ovule cone: 1-3 fertile cone scales and 1-3 sterile bracts

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

Ovule position: on upper surface of cone scale

Juvenile leaf form: linear, stiff but not prickly

Ovule coverings: an inner covering (integument); a black outer epimatium

Juvenile leaf size: 15-40 mm

Ovule pore (micropyle): directed downward

Juvenile leaf arrangement: spiral, spreading away from the stem

Mature seed cone: 1-3 ribbed black seeds with an orange, fleshy basal outgrowth of the epimatium


Stem (receptacle) below seed:  1-3 bracts below the seed remain similar to the scale leaves