The Gymnosperm Database


Detail drawing from de Laubenfels (1972).


Distribution, redrawn from de Laubenfels (1972).


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Conservation status 2010: protocol 3.1

Podocarpus polyspermus

de Laubenfels 1972

Common names

Mé Maoya podocarp (Eckenwalder 2009).

Taxonomic notes

Based on analysis of the rbcL gene, this species occurs with other New Caledonian Podocarpus species in a New Caledonian sub-clade of Podocarpus subgenus Foliolatus de Laub. (Knopf et al. 2011). Morphological characters indicate a close relationship to P. longifoliolatus Eckenwalder 2009).


Trees to 15 m tall, with a crown of sparse branchlets; foliar units in clumps near tips of branches. Bark grainy, fibrous with shallow furrows, dark brown weathering gray-brown. Twigs green, grooved, with prominent leaf scars. Leaves assurgent, crowded at tips of twigs, coriaceous, gray-green; 8-21 cm × 6-13 mm in juveniles, 8-12 cm × 6-8 mm in adults; straight or slightly curved, margins incurved, tapering from near the middle, acute, with a wedge-shaped base on a petiole to 10 mm long; with prominent midrib above and a broad groove below; leaves retained for 1-2 years. Pollen cones 20-25×3-3.5 mm, solitary, borne in leaf axils, the persistent basal bud scales rounded, keeled, incurved. Seed cones solitary on an 8-11×2 mm peduncle, at maturity dark red, swollen, juicy, 10-15×6-12 mm, with 2-3 seeds per cone (de Laubenfels 1972, Eckenwalder 2009).

P. polyspermus closely resembles P. longifoliolatus, but this species has gray instead of bright green leaves, the bud scales are upright rather than curved outwards, and this species grows at substantially lower elevations; the ranges are discontinuous (Eckenwalder 2009).

Distribution and Ecology

New Caledonia (de Laubenfels 1972). Eckenwalder (2009) and Farjon (2010) both state that it grows at elevations of 650-950 m, but I strongly suspect that both are simply quoting de Laubenfels (1972), who had access to only two collections of the species; Biffin et al. (2011, Table S5) state that, based on data from 10 collection localities, it grows at elevations of 470 ±210 m. Within its range, mean annual temperature is 21°C, with an average minimum in the coldest month of 14°C, and a mean annual precipitation of 1540 mm (Biffin et al. 2011).

The IUCN reports that this species is in decline. It is facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild due to restriction and severe fragmentation of its range, coupled with continuing decline in habitat extent and numbers of mature individuals.

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See also

Association Endemia, a site devoted to New Caledonian species. Has excellent photos, a range map, and other information. In French.

The species account at Threatened Conifers of the World.

Last Modified 2017-12-29