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Conservation status

Phyllocladus asplenifolius

(Labill.) Hook. f. 1845

Common names

Celery top pine, Adventure Bay pine.

Taxonomic notes

Synonymy (Farjon 1998):

Description

Tree to 18(30) m tall, shrubby at high elevations. Branches irregularly arranged branches, bearing inconspicuous, scalelike leaves; leaf functions are performed mainly by deciduous, green branchlets that are flattened into leathery, leaflike phylloclades resembling celery leaflets.

Distribution and Ecology

Temperate rain forests of W Tasmania at 500-800 m elevation (Silba 1986). You can create a highly detailed map, and access specimen data, using the "search" function at the Australia Virtual Herbarium.

Based on data from 53 collection localities, its climate preferences include a mean annual temperature of 9.0°C, with an average minimum in the coldest month of 1.7°C, and a mean annual precipitation of 1700 mm (Biffin et al. 2011, Table S5). Hardy to Zone 9 (cold hardiness limit between -6.6°C and -1.1°C) (Bannister and Neuner 2001).

Big tree

Oldest

A plausible estimate is 800 years (Victorian Woodworkers Association [no date]). A ring count of 604 rings in 10 cm is reported from a tree on Mount Read, central Tasmania (IDS 1996). One tree-ring chronology, presumably based on living tree material, covers 665 years (Ogden and Dunwiddie 1982).

Dendrochronology

Twelve tree-ring chronologies were collected in about 1971 by the Americans Valmore C. LaMarche Jr. and Peter W. Dunwiddie in what were evidently the first explorations of the dendrochronological characteristics of the species (NOAA, Ogden and Dunwiddie 1982). Shortly thereafter, the Australians and New Zealanders began work in the area, assembling chronologies for a variety of native gymnosperms and successfully applying them to a variety of problems in work summarized by D.A. Norton, John Ogden and J.G. Palmer (Palmer and Ogden 1992, Norton and Palmer 1992, Ogden and Dunwiddie 1982). P. asplenifolius has not been employed as extensively as some other Australasian species, but has been useful in some studies of past climate variation and in estimation of variations in atmospheric carbon-14 production in the southern hemisphere (Barbetti et al. 1995). The earliest tree-ring chronology based on live trees begins in 1450 AD.

Ethnobotany

The Victorian Woodworkers Association [no date] provides detailed information on current commercial use of the timber. This is, incidentally, a classic example of timber mining. The species is currently being exploited as a commercial crop and timber remains available. However, the trees take approximately 300 years to mature. Such a course seems likely to lead to the commercial extinction of the species. Some conservation measures exist: "The conservation of the craftwood resource is related to the conservation of special species timbers as a whole. Large tracts of rainforest (34 per cent of the 565,000 ha total in the State) are reserved in Tasmania's National Parks and World Heritage areas. Of the 40 recognised rainforest plant communities, three are poorly reserved and three are not known in reserves" (Commonwealth of Australia 1999).

Observations

Remarks

Citations

Commonwealth of Australia. 1999. Tasmania. http://www.rfa.gov.au/rfa/tas/raa/soceco/ch6_4.html, accessed 2000.04.24, now defunct.

International Dendrology Society. Year Book 1996.

NOAA. The NOAA Paleoclimatology Program Tree-Ring Data Search Page.

Victorian Woodworkers Association. [no date]. http://home.vicnet.net.au/~woodlink/celery.htm, accessed 2001.02.10, now defunct.

See also

Allen, K.J. 1998. A dendroclimatological investigation of Phyllocladus aspleniifolius (Labill.) Hook.f. Ph.D. dissertation, The University of Tasmania. 344 pp.

Barbetti, M., T. Bird, G. Dolezal, G. Taylor, R. Francey, E. Cook, and M. Peterson. 1992. Radiocarbon variations from Tasmanian conifers: first results from late Pleistocene and Holocene logs. Radiocarbon 34(3): 806-817.

Barker, P.C.J. 1995. Phyllocladus aspleniifolius: Phenology, germination, and seedling survival. New Zealand Journal of Botany.

Barker, P.C.J. and J.B. Kirkpatrick. 1994. Phyllocladus aspleniifolius: variability in the population structure, the regeneration niche and dispersion patterns in Tasmanian forests. Australian Journal of Botany 42(2):163-190.

Gymnosperms of New Zealand.

Native Conifers of Tasmania, a short but interesting and well illustrated site maintained by the Department of Environment and Land Management, Parks and Wildlife Service, Tasmania. Accessed 2009.03.23.

Last Modified 2013-03-28