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PODOCARPUS nivalis

Image of Podocarpus nivalis

John Rickard

Family

Podocarpaceae

Botanical Name

PODOCARPUS nivalis

Plant Common Name

Alpine Totara

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Podocarpus is a large genus of over 100 species of evergreen trees and shrubs native to the sub-tropical and tropical regions of the world. The plants are coniferous, bearing reproductive cones and mostly dioecious which means male and female cones are produced on separate plants. The male flowers are yellow or red on catkin-like (pendent flower spikes) cones borne among the leaves or at the ends of the branches. The female flowers are green and produced on scaly cones. The fruit is fleshy, surrounding a single hard seed and often red and purple in color which attracts birds. The leaves are linear to oval to elliptical with a single, prominent midvein and often spirally arranged around the stem. Some Podocarpus are used as timber sources; others are popular as landscape plants. Popular garden and landscape species include Podocarpus macrophyllus also known as the Buddhist Pine or Southern Yew, Podocarpus salignus, the Willow-leafed Podocarpus from Chile and Podocarpus nivalis, a rounded shrub from New Zealand.

Podocarpus are generally long-lived and slow-growing. Most prefer well-drained soil which is fertile and moist. However, they tend to be very tolerant of most conditions that are not wet. Full sun is best, though a bit of shade is tolerated. Though many Podcarpus are drought tolerant, they are native to areas of abundant rainfall and high humidity and grow best with regular watering or rain. They can be damaged by extreme, extended cold and may be grown under glass or in containers where not hardy. Many of the species are very prunable.Podocarpus are useful as large trees, hedges, screens, barriers and bonsai.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 7

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    7 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    6'-100' / 1.8m - 30.5m

  • Width

    6'-30' / 1.8m - 9.1m

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    World/Pandemic

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Very Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Yellow, Red, Green

  • Fruit Color Modifier

    Multi-Color

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Sienna, Chocolate, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Exfoliating

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Foundation, Hedges, Screening / Wind Break, Shade Trees, Street Trees, Topiary / Bonsai / Espalier, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes