The Gymnosperm Database


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Conservation status 2010: protocol 2.3, needs updating

Podocarpus rubens

de Laubenfels 1985

Common names

W New Guinea: bebi-è (Kapauko, in Wissel Lakes); ungpop (Hattam, in Arfak area); E New Guinea: bin (Ingembit village, W Distr.); kaip (Enga, Wabag area); nelil (Mt. Tangis, New Britain); sukou (Wapi, in Wigote area) (de Laubenfels 1988).

Taxonomic notes

Syn: P. neriifolius var. timorensis Wasscher 1941; P. pilgeri (non Foxw.) van Royen 1979 (de Laubenfels 1988).


"Tree 2-30 m taIl, 4-36 cm diam. Foliage buds 2-3 mm long, the primary scales erect or slightly spreading. Developing leaves bright red. Juvenile leaves linear, narrowly acuminate, becoming apiculate, 6-8 by 1.1-1.4 cm, narrowing at the base to a 2-3 mm petiole. Adult leaves linear to elliptic, 3-6 by 0.6-1 cm, apex acute to rounded and often apiculate, base same as juvenile leaves, margin revolute, midrib above 0.3 mm high with vertical sides, 0.3 mm wide. Pollen cones solitary or in threes, sessile or on a short peduncle. Receptacle becoming first red then purple.

"The bright red colour of a new flush of leaves which has been seen in this species can make the trees quite conspicuous. Herbarium specimens can resemble P. pilgeri but the upper midrib of the leaf rises c. 0.3 mm with vertical sides, while that of P. pilgeri is hardly 0.2 mm high with sloping sides. Leaves of P. pilgeri which approach P. rubens in size are from shady situations and are distinctly thin and delicate while those whose texture resembles the coarse rigid leaves of P. rubens are no more than 4-6 mm wide. The always solitary pollen cone of P. pilgeri is distinctly more slender and the ripe receptacle is red. Unique in the section is that most specimens of P. rubens have some leaves with a narrow-acuminate or more or less apiculate apex" (de Laubenfels 1988).

Distribution and Ecology

Central to S. Sumatra, Celebes (Central: Latimodjong & Kambuno Mts; SW: G. Bonthain), Lesser Sunda Islands (Timor: G. Mutis), and New Guinea (incl. Normanby & New Britain). "Scattered as a medium-sized, substage tree in primary rain-forest mostly above 1500 m but as low as 800 m on smaller islands or locally common to dominant as a small tree on ridges between 2000 and 3000 m or occasionally higher. Mostly on latosols, in New Guinea in Fagaceous mossy forest, rarely in swampy forest on peaty soils with Dacrydium" (de Laubenfels 1988). Based on data from 13 collection localities, its climate preferences include a mean annual temperature of 20°C, with an average minimum in the coldest month of 15°C, and a mean annual precipitation of 2930 mm (Biffin et al. 2011, Table S5).

Big tree






"The specimens of P. rubens from Ambon have a continuous upper hypoderm while elsewhere there are only scattered upper hypoderm cells and vascular sclereids.

"Specimens assigned to P. rubens from Normanby I. and New Britain have quite blunt leaves with a less prominent midrib. In all other ways they conform to the species but it is possible that they represent a different taxon.

"The specimen Ichlas 166 from a high elevation in Sumatra seems too long and narrow to be placed comfortably here, even though more typical specimens exist nearby at lower elevation. The foliage bud is rather robust and the lateral resin canals are quite large. It resembles P. brevifolius and P. crassigemmis and could represent a new allied species" (de Laubenfels 1988).


See also

Last Modified 2017-12-29