The Gymnosperm Database


Range of Dacrydium elatum (de Laubenfels 1988). Adapted from a map by


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Conservation status 2010: protocol 2.3, needs updating

Dacrydium elatum

(Roxb.) Wallich ex Hook. 1843

Common names

Vietnamese: Hoàng dàn giå (FIPI 1996); Ru, M; Borneo: ouk, Kayan, sempilor, Merurong Plateau (de Laubenfels 1988).

Taxonomic notes

Syn: Juniperus elata Roxb. 1832; D. junghuhnii Miq. 1851; D. pierrei Hickel 1930; D. beccarii var. subelatum Corner 1939 (de Laubenfels 1988).

"Dacrydium beccarii var. subelatum was established for trees bearing the intermediate foliage, a condition which appears to be persistent on certain individuals, some of them growing on high mossy ridges. Actually fruiting specimens with intermediate foliage occur sporadically throughout the range of D. elatum (de Laubenfels, Blumea 23, 1976, 97). Corner thought that this variety was somehow transitional, even suggesting that D. beccarii - of which he made it a part - might be a hybrid between D. comosum and D. elatum. Indeed, the individuals on high mossy ridges may well be hybrids between D. beccarii and D. elatum as they seem always to occur where the ranges of these two species approach one another. In any case, all such plants can be distinguished by much shorter leaves on vigorous shoots than for D. beccarii and generally variable leaf size" (de Laubenfels 1988).


Dioecious tree 8-40 m tall and 10-100 cm dbh, with straight bole, brown bark and many slender, more or less erect branches and crowds of branchlets forming tufts which together comprise a dome-shaped crown. Juvenile leaves linear-lanceolate, spreading but curved forward parallel to the branch, keeled on four sides, to at least 14 mm long, 0.3 mm wide and 0.2 mm thick, gradually becoming shorter and slightly broader with the leaves at the bases of ultimate shoots and on more vigorous shoots noticeably smaller and less spreading. Transitional forms which are sometimes fertile have spreading leaves slightly bent forward towards the acute tip, triangular in cross section, 0.3-0.4 mm wide, 0.2 mm thick, and 2-4 mm long, the leaves on vigorous shoots more nearly scale-like. Adult foliage shoots cord-like, 1-2 mm diam., leaves in the form of imbricate triangular scales 1-1.5 by 0.4-0.6 mm, sharply keeled on their exposed surface. Juvenile shoots sometimes mix with adult shoots thus giving a false impression that leaves change abruptly as the tree matures. The fertile structures are terminal. Pollen cones small, 4-8 mm long and 1-1.2 mm in diam. Apex of microsporophyll 0.5-0.8 mm long. The seed-bearing structure, even when produced on needle-bearing branches, is subtended by a scaly peduncle several mm long with scales about 1 mm long. The seed cones solitary or arranged in small groups, consisting of about a dozen slightly elongated bracts 1.5-2 mm long. The solitary seed is 4-4.5 mm long 3 mm wide, 1/3 of base covered with pseudopericarp (de Laubenfels 1988, FIPI 1996).

Distribution and Ecology

Vietnam; Laos; Cambodia; Thailand; Malaya (very common, incl. Penang I.); Sumatra (only local in Westcoast Res., Batak Lands); Borneo (Sarawak & Sabah, rather rare) (de Laubenfels 1988). Within its range, mean annual temperature is 21.2°C, with an average minimum in the coldest month of 12.7°C, and a mean annual precipitation of 2095 mm (Biffin et al. 2011, Table S5).

In Malesia, it is "scattered in moist rain-forest, from sea-level but mostly above several hundred m to 1,700 m, growing most abundantly in open situations indicating a preference for disturbed conditions. It also appears to prosper on difficult soils (sandstone, granite, kerangas). Hardy and popular under cultivation in fully exposed sites. Does not enter into high mountain scrub" (de Laubenfels 1988).

In Vietnam, it is "a rare species, only met in Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Tuyen Quang, on limestone soils or stony mountains, at altitudes of 900-1,700 m. An evergreen and light-demanding tree, preferring a cool climate, yellow soil with much humus and high humidity. Usually mixed with Castanopsis spp., Chamaecyparis hodginsii and Illicium griffithii. Natural regeneration is good in open places. Flowering in March, fruiting in October-November" (FIPI 1996).

Zone 10 (cold hardiness limit between -1°C and +4.4°C) (Bannister and Neuner 2001).

Big tree




Timber yellowish with fine and straight grain, light (density 0.6-0.66), soft and slightly perfumed, resistant to bending and pressing. Used in bridges, boats, shipbuilding, construction and fine art making. Also used in distillation of essential oils or in joss stick making (FIPI 1996).



Listed (as D. pierrei) as threatened in Viet Nam by the World Conservation Monitoring Centre.


See also

Dallimore et al. 1967.

Hiep et al. 2004.

Luu and Thomas 2004 provide a description, range map, conservation status, drawings and photos, and a wealth of additional information.

Last Modified 2017-12-29