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NZ Plants

Lepidothamnus laxifolius - pygmy pine, mountain rimu

Podocarp family: Podocarpaceae

Lepidothamnus laxifolius us is a small shrub. 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, an outgrowth of the epimatium forms a thin pinkish collar at the base of the seed while the bracts below form a bright fleshy receptacle. Formerly known as Dacrydium laxifolium.

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: prostrate scrambling shrub up to 1 m

Pollen and ovule cones: on the same or separate plants

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

Pollen cone: 5-8 mm long

Adult leaf size: 1-2 mm

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

Adult leaf arrangement: singly on stem, flattened (appressed) to stem

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

Juvenile leaf form: linear, but not prickly

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

Juvenile leaf size: 5-12 mm

Ovule pore (micropyle): hooked downward on an upright ovule

Juvenile leaf arrangement: singly (spiral) and spreading away from the stem

Mature seed cone: a single black seed with a slightly fleshy epimatium cupped around base of seed


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