Gymnosperm Database
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Conservation status

Widdringtonia nodiflora

(Linnaeus) Powrie 1972

Common names

Mountain Cedar, mountain cypress, bergsipres, berg cypress, sapree-wood.

Taxonomic notes

Being by far the most common and widespread species in the genus, it has garnered a substantial synonymy (Farjon 1998):

Some authors treat Widdringtonia whytei as a variety of this species.

Description

Shrub or small tree to 6 m tall, but in a few remote areas in the mountains of eastern Zimbabwe much larger specimens are occasionally found. Bark is brown to gray, thinly fissured vertically and flaking in long, narrow strips revealing a reddish underbark. The juvenile leaves are needle-like, green, spirally arranged, up to 2 cm long. Adult leaves are scale-like, about 2 mm long, dark green. Pollen cones are terminal, 2-4 mm long. Seed cones are globose, dark brown, 15-20 mm diameter. Cone scales 4, woody, with a wrinkled surface and a few protuberances. The seed cones mature around March, but cones in varying stages of development may be found throughout the year. The seeds are dark brown to black, with a conspicuous red wing (Palgrave 2002).

Distribution and Ecology

S Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe at elevations of 0 to 2590 m ( Silba 1986). Usually at high altitudes on mountainsides, among rocks and in gullies. There remain very few sizable trees south of the Zambezi River today, although large trees grew in the late nineteenth century in the Chimanimani district of Zimbabwe (Palgrave 2002).

Zone 9 (cold hardiness limit between -6.6°C and -1.1°C) (Bannister and Neuner 2001).

Unlike other species in the genus, W. nodiflora coppices readily from the base after fire, which may account for its success against its congeners (Farjon 2005).

Big tree

Oldest

Dendrochronology

Ethnobotany

The timber is very durable and makes tough roofing shingles that weather to an attractive silver-grey. The wood has a natural satiny sheen, and is suitable for furniture and finish carpentry (Palgrave 2002).

Observations

Remarks

See also

Farjon (2005) provides a detailed account, with illustrations.

Last Modified 2012-11-23