Syn: Microstrobos J. Garden et L.A.S. Johnson 1951. This genus, and the closely related monotypic genus Microcachrys, are comprised of shrubby Australian species with very small scale-like leaves and very small cones; the three have frequently been confused by botanists, resulting in a legacy of misidentification and a tangled nomenclature; to read whole story, see Brummitt et al. (2004). There are two species, P. fitzgeraldi and P. hookeriana, the type.
Evergreen dioecious shrubs. Branches short and stiff or long and slender. Leaves of adult and juvenile plants similar. Adult leaves spirally arranged but often seemingly in 4 or 5 rows, keeled, <4 mm long. Scale-like leaves imbricate and obtuse, awl-like leaves spreading and acute. Cones (pollen and seed) solitary, terminal on normal vegetative shoots. Seed cones not fleshy at maturity, ovoid to globose, epimatium lacking, ovules erect, about 2.5 mm long with 3-8 fertile scales, scales thin, thickened at the base, obovate, brown when mature. Pollen cones 2-3 mm long, composed of 8 - 15 stamens. Seeds several in each cone, each seed at the base of a glume-like scale equalling or slightly exceeding the length of the seed. Individual seeds light brown or greyish, up to about 1 mm diameter, with a hard, glossy brown integument. 2n=26 (Dallimore et al. 1967, Hill 1998).
The following key is provided by Hill (1998):
Adult leaves to 1.5 mm long, fully appressed to the stem, less than twice as long as wide, native to Tasmania.
Adult leaves 2.5-3.5 mm long, free and spreading, basally decurrent, more than twice as long as wide, native to New South Wales.
Australia: New South Wales and Tasmania (each with one endemic species) (Harden 1990). Found at alpine elevations usually on mesic sites such as the margins of lakes, streams, and waterfalls, where they are rare (Dallimore et al. 1967).
Archer, W. 1850. Hooker's J. Bot. Kew Gard. Misc. 2:52.
Brummitt, R.K., R.R. Mill and A. Farjon. 2004. The significance of 'it' in the nomenclature of three Tasmanian conifers: Microcachrys tetragona and Microstrobos niphophilus (Podocarpaceae), and Diselma archeri. Taxon 53(2):529-539.
Garden, J. and L. A. S. Johnson. 1951. Microstrobos, a new name for a Podocarpaceous genus. Contr. New South Wales Natl. Herb. 1:315-317.
Last Modified 2013-03-27