The Gymnosperm Database


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Conservation status

Prumnopitys standleyi

(Buchholz et Gray) de Laub. 1978

Common names

Ciprecillo, cobola, lorito (Rojas et al. 1992 in Moreira and Arnáez 2003).

Taxonomic notes

Syn: Podocarpus standleyi J. Buchholz et N.E. Gray 1948 (Farjon 1998).


Trees up to 25 m tall. Branchlets alternate, spreading. Leaves yew-like, linear, acute or mucronate, 12-25 mm long, 1.5-3.5 mm wide, glaucous beneath, grooved above the midvein. Pollen cones numerous (up to 25), spicately arranged on a branch terminal shoot 3.8-7.6 cm long, each cone 10-13 mm long. Seed cones borne on a peduncle 2.5 cm long, with bracts 1.5 mm long subtending a 17 mm long seed (Dallimore et al. 1967). Note: Moreira and Arnáez (2003) offer a different description that says the pollen cone inflorescence is only 1 cm long and 2.3 mm across, bearing up to 50 pollen cones; and that the mature seed is 9 mm long and 7 mm across.

Distribution and Ecology

Costa Rica, where it is the only endemic gymnosperm, restricted to the Volcan de Poas (10°11' N, 84°14' W, 2708 m) and Cerro Las Vueltas (9°37' N, 83°52' W.) (Farjon 1998). Grows in montane rainforest at 2000 to 3200 m elevation, in areas with 2000-4000 mm annual rainfall and temperature range of 3-25°C (Budowski 1954 in Moreira and Arnáez 2003). See also Chaverri et al. [no date].

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

Big tree




The wood is relatively heavy (specific gravity of 0.555), dries quickly without defects, and has a fine, uniform texture (Carpio 1992, Standley 1938, both in Moreira and Arnáez 2003). These traits have suited it to use in construction, flooring, indoor decoration, veneer, farming tools, fenceposts, firewood, furniture, and as pulp for paper and cardboard (Budowski 1954, Carpio 1992, Rojas and others 1992, all in Moreira and Arnáez 2003).


La Amistad Biosphere Reserve looks like a good place to see it.


The seeds ripen in 5 months and are ready for harvest in April. To germinate, first soak in water at 22°C for 24 hours. Germination is epigeal. The seedlings' roots bear numerous nodules (Moreira and Arnáez 2003).


Budowski, G. 1954. La identificación en el campo de árboles forestales más importantes de la América Central. Turrialba, Costa Rica: Centro Agronómico Tropical par la Investigación y la Enseñanza. 326 p. tesis Magister Agr.

Carpio, I. 1992. Maderas de Costa Rica, 150 especies forestales. San Jose, Costa Rica: Editorial Universidad de Costa Rica. 338 p.

Chaverri, A., B. Herrera and O. Herrera-MacBryde. [no date]. CPD: Middle America, Site MA17, La Amistad Biosphere Reserve, Costa Rica, Panama., accessed 2006.12.15.

Moreira, I. and E. Arnáez. 2003. Prumnopitys standleyi (Buchholz & Gray) de Laub. P. 660-661 in Tropical Tree Seed Manual., accessed 2006.12.15.

Rojas, F., G. Torres, E. Arnáez, and I. Moreira. 1992. Ciprecillo. Especies Forestales Tropicales. Subserie de Cuadernos Cientéficos y Tecnológicos No. 9. Cartago, Costa Rica: Editorial Tecnológica de Costa Ricas. 4 p.

Standley, P.C. 1938. Flora de Costa Rica. Field Museum of Natural History Botanical Series 18(3): 1-1130.

See also

The species account at Threatened Conifers of the World.

Last Modified 2017-12-29