A genus of ten species, nine of which were formerly assigned to Podocarpus (Prumnopitys taxifolia having been assigned, likely due to its unusual foliage, to Dacrydium):
Synonymy (de Laubenfels 1988):
"Densely branched dioecious trees to 60 m tall. Bark smooth, fibrous, and reddish to yellowish brown, often darker on the surface but weathering to gray, or older trees breaking off in irregular more or less quadrangular plates 3-5 mm thick and 3-10 cm across, with scattered lenticel-like mounds. Foliage buds small and inconspicuous with overlapping triangular scales. Leaves spirally placed, bifacially flattened, linear, uninerved, without hypoderm, hypostomatic, narrowed at the decurrent base with a twist where the leaf leaves the stem so that the leaves appear distichous. Pollen cones axillary and solitary or grouped on scaly spike (or even compound structures). Seed with its covering solitary and subterminal or grouped along a scaly or leafy shoot, inverted and completely covered by a fleshy epimatium with an apical crest; the seed with a slightly asymmetrical ridge at the micropylar end" (de Laubenfels 1988).
East Australia, New Caledonia and New Zealand, and from Chile to Venezuela and Costa Rica (de Laubenfels 1988).
Probably Prumnopitys taxifolia, but I have found few data except on the New Zealand species.
As of 2007 there have been seven studies, mostly in the 1990's, including exploratory analyses and a couple of geological dating studies.
"Several species are important timber trees" (de Laubenfels 1988).
See the species accounts.
Plants of this genus have been found in early Miocene (about 20 million years ago) sediments in southern New Zealand (Pole 2007).
Last Modified 2013-04-17