The Gymnosperm Database


Tree on Cerro Montecristo, El Salvador [Fernando Tobar, 2008].


Branch and foliage on a tree in Jardin Botanico Reinaldo Espinosa, Loja, Ecuador [Réjean Drouin, 2016.11].


Foliage on a tree in Jardin Botanico Reinaldo Espinosa, Loja, Ecuador [Réjean Drouin, 2016.11].


Distribution of 774 occurrences recorded on GBIF as of 2016.11.


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Conservation status 2010: protocol 2.3, needs updating

Podocarpus oleifolius

D. Don 1824

Common names

Pino de pasto (in Colombia); pinete (in Venezuela) (Farjon 2010).

Taxonomic notes

Synonymy (Farjon 1998):

Farjon (2010) describes the rationale for synonymizing the last three names listed above. His basic argument is that P. oleifolius is a widespread taxon with a fairly high level of phenotypic variation, and that each of these species, as described and as shown by herbarium collections, overlaps with the characters of P. oleifolius. I have not seen any of these taxa in the field, but accept this determination because Farjon also provides the most complete description of this species I have yet found.


Trees to 30 m tall and 150 cm dbh, erect with a single round trunk, densely branched; at high altitudes may be a shrub or short tree. Bark thin, smooth becoming scaly with age, yellow-brown weathering to a light gray. Foliage branches round, bearing prominent leaf scars and decurrent grooves. Leaves dimorphic. On juvenile trees they are up to 15×2 cm, linear-lanceolate, sometimes curved. On mature trees they are (1.5-)4-9 cm long and (5-)7-12 mm wide, linear-lanceolate, usually straight. Midrib on upper surface in a narrow groove; on lower surface a prominent ridge that may also have a central groove. Pollen cones solitary, axillary, sessile, 25-30×3-4 mm at full expansion; microsporophylls imbricate. Seed cones axillary on short peduncles, with (when fully ripe) succulent red receptacles 6-10 mm long; seeds with epimatium 7-8 mm long, ovoid to globose, olive green (Farjon 2010).

Distribution and Ecology

S Mexico to Colombia, Ecuador, N Peru, Venezuela (Farjon 1998). Based on data from 209 collection localities, it grows at elevations of 1,970 ±810 m (full reported range 825-3,300 m; Farjon [2010]). Within its range, mean annual temperature is 16.8°C, with an average minimum in the coldest month of 10.0°C, and a mean annual precipitation of 1,940 mm (Biffin et al. 2011, Table S5). As such, it is an upper montane species of evergreen and semi-deciduous forsts, often in cloud forest with abundant epiphytes. Common associates include species of other Podocarpus, Cedrela, Persea, Quercus, Magnolia, Symplocus and various Lauraceae. At the highest elevations it forms a shrub or small tree in a canopy 2-8 m tall. In Venezuela, it is known from the summits of tepuis (Farjon 2010).

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

Big tree

Vladimir Dinets (e-mail, 2003.12.16) reports: "I found an unusually large specimen of Podocarpus (with a sign saying P. oleifolius) along the main trail at Biotopo Mario Dary Rivera, Guatemala. It was more than 1.5 m in diameter, and probably close to 50 m tall."




I have no records of its use by indigenous people. Commercially, large trees are sometimes logged for uses including home construction and furniture making (Farjon 2010). It is not a species of conservation concern, and is reasonably common with an extensive range. It is rarely seen outside of its native range, not being popular as an ornamental, though it is occasionally found in botanical gardens and arboreta.


In El Salvador, it can be found in habitat only on the highest peaks of Cerro Montecristo, in Quercus-dominated cloud forests (Fernando Tobar email 2008.11.12).

In Peru, it is reported from the National Park Yanachaga Chemillen.


The epithet means "with leaves like an olive," which is equally true of many other species in the genus.


de Laubenfels, D. J. 1991. Brenesia 33:120.

de Laubenfels, D. J. 1991. Podocarpaceae Podocarpus ingensis de Laub. Boletin de Lima 13(73): 58.

See also

de Laubenfels, D. 1994. Las podocarpáceas del Peru. Boletin de Lima 16(91-96): 35-38.

Last Modified 2017-12-29