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NZ Plants

Lepidothamnus intermedius - yellow silver pine

Podocarp family: Podocarpaceae

Lepidothamnus intermedius is a small tree, often with many trunks and a rounded crown. Juvenile plants have needle-like leaves which gradually change into overlapping yellowish green scale-like leave with a prominent ridge (keel) on the lower (outer) surface. Small, fleshy ovule cones are formed. After fertilisation, a fleshy outgrowth of the epimatium (derived from the ovule scale) forms at the base of the seed while the bracts below form a bright fleshy receptacle. Formerly known as Dacrydium intermedium.

An endemic species with a scattered distribution in the North Island but more common on the South Island’s west coast and Stewart Island.
A small genus with two species in New Zealand and one species in southern Argentina and Chile.

Vegetative characteristics

Reproductive characteristics

Adult plant form: tree up to 15 m

Pollen and ovule cones: on separate trees

Adult leaf form: scale-like, overlapping, distinct ridge (keel) on lower (outer) surface

Pollen cone: terminal on stems, up to 5-8 mm long

Adult leaf size: 1.5-3 mm long

Ovule cone: one fertile scale and 2-3 sterile bracts below

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

Ovule position: solitary, on upper face of fertile cone scale

Juvenile leaf form: linear, stiff but not prickly

Ovule coverings: an inner covering (integument); an outer covering (epimatium) restricted to basal portions of the ovule

Juvenile leaf size: 9-15 mm

Ovule pore (micropyle): directed downward

Juvenile leaf arrangement: singly on stem, spreading away from stem

Mature seed cone: a single black seed with a slightly fleshy epimatium cupping the base of the seed


Stem(receptacle) below seed: fleshy, derived from basal bracts and adjacent leaves