The Gymnosperm Database


Emergent tree, Coromandel Range, New Zealand [Trevor Hinchliffe].


Foliage and fruits on a tree in the Coromandel Range, New Zealand [Trevor Hinchliffe].


Distribution map (Metcalf 2002.


Foliage on a tree at Mount Tomah Bot. Garden, NSW [Trevor Hinchliffe].


Bark on a tree in the Coromandel Range, New Zealand [Trevor Hinchliffe].


Seedling 10 cm tall, Toatoa Grove walk, Waipoua Forest [C.J. Earle, 2003.03.14].


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Conservation status

Prumnopitys ferruginea

(G. Benn. ex D. Don) de Laubenfels 1978

Common names

Miro (Maori), Brown pine.

Taxonomic notes

Syn: Podocarpus ferrugineus G. Benn ex D. Don 1832; Nageia ferruginea (G. Benn. ex D. Don) F. Muell. 1876; Stachycarpus ferrugineus (G. Benn. ex D. Don) Tiegh. 1891 (Farjon 1998).


Tree to 25 m tall and 100 cm dbh with a round crown. Bark finely punctate, scaly, gray-brown, falling in thick flakes. Juvenile leaves light green or brown-red, up to 30 mm long, narrow-linear, acute. Adult leaves 15-25×2-3 mm, dark green, often secund, apex acute, midvein distinct, margins recurved, arranged in a plane on either side of the branchlet with stomata on the lower surface only. Pollen cones solitary, sessile, erect, catkin-like, 0.5-1.5 cm long, arising in the axils of the leaves. Buds of female flowers also arise from leaf axils, taking more than 12 months to ripen; they are usually borne singly at the end of a short axillary branchlet which is covered in small scales. The mature seeds are fully enclosed in a red, fleshy covering ca. 5 mm long, they are broadly oblong to sub-spherical, drupaceous, purplish, with glaucous bloom, up to 20 mm. long. Wood hard, durable, straight-grained (Allan 1961, Salmon 1996).

The bark somewhat resembles that of Prumnopitys taxifolia, but the foliage is quite unique in comparison with all other New Zealand native conifers (pers. obs. Mar-2003).

This species is always mycorrhizal, forming a vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizas (Hurst et al. 2002).

Distribution and Ecology

New Zealand: North, South and Stuart Island, in lowland forest to an altitude of 1,000 m (Salmon 1996). Based on data from 720 collection localities, its climate preferences include a mean annual temperature of 10°C, with an average minimum in the coldest month of 1°C, and a mean annual precipitation of 2400 mm (Biffin et al. 2011, Table S5). Zone 9 (cold hardiness limit between -6.6°C and -1.1°C) (Bannister and Neuner 2001).

Ecologically, it appears to be a late-successional forest interior species, regenerating within the forest and typically only achieving canopy dominance after several gap-release events (Lusk and Smith 1998).

Big tree

A specimen 14 m tall and 87 cm dbh grows at New Plymouth, New Zealand (Burstall and Sale 1984).


Smale and Smale (2003), studying forest dynamics and tree growth rates, report ages of up to 549 years for trees growing in native forest remnants at Waihaha in the central North Island. Ages in this study were determined by simple ring-counts of increment cores taken at breast height.



The wood is sometimes beautifully figured. It is exploited increasingly as a substitute for matai in weatherboarding and flooring (Salmon 1996).


It can be seen along tracks in virtually all native forests on the North Island. Some examples include the forests at Te Urewera, Whirinaki, Taranaki, Ohinetonga, Pureora, Waitakere, Coromandel, Waipoua, Omahuta and Puketi Forest Parks and National Parks.



Allan, H. H. 1961. Flora of New Zealand. Volume I, Indigenous Tracheophyta. Wellington: R.E. Owen Government Printer.

Hurst, S. E., M. H. Turnbull and D. A. Norton. 2002. The effect of plant light environment on mycorrhizal colonisation in field-grown seedlings of podocarp-angiosperm forest tree species. New Zealand Journal of Botany 40:65-72. Available: Hurst et al. 2002, accessed 2009.03.22.

Lusk, C. H., and B. Smith. 1998. Life history differences and tree species coexistence in an old-growth New Zealand rain forest. Ecology 79(3): 795-806.

Smale, M. C. and P. N. Smale. 2003. Dynamics of upland conifer/broadleaved forest at Waihaha, central North Island, New Zealand. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 33(2):509-528. Available: Smale and Smale 2003, accessed 2009.03.23.

See also

The New Zealand Plant Conservation Network, accessed 2010.11.22.

Gymnosperms of New Zealand.

Last Modified 2017-12-29