Lagarostrobos

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Lagarostrobos franklinii
Conservation status: Vulnerable
Missing image
HuonPine.jpg



Huon Pine in a Tasmanian botanical garden.
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
Division:Pinophyta
Class:Pinopsida
Order:Pinales
Family:Podocarpaceae
Genus:Lagarostrobos
Species:L. franklinii

Template:Taxobox section binomial botany

The species Lagarostrobos franklinii is a species of conifer native to the wet southwestern corner of Tasmania, Australia; it is the sole species in Lagarostrobos; one other species L. colensoi formerly included has been transferred to a new genus Manoao. The genus was also formerly included in a broader circumscription of the genus Dacrydium.

Lagarostrobos franklinii is often known as "Huon Pine" or "Macquarie Pine", confusing names as it is a podocarp (Podocarpaceae), not a pine (Pinaceae).

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HuonPineFoliage.jpg
Close-up of Huon pine foliage.

It is a slow growing, but long-lived tree; some living specimens of this tree are in excess of 2000 years in age. It grows to 10-20 m tall, exceptionally reaching 30 m, with arching branches and pendulous branchlets. The leaves are spirally arranged, very small and scale-like, 1-3 mm long, covering the shoots completely. It is dioecious, with male (pollen) and female (seed) cones on separate plants. The male cones are yellow, 5-8 mm long and 1-2 mm broad. The mature seed cones are highly modified, berry-like, with 5-10 lax, open scales which mature in 6-8 months, with one seed 2-2.5 mm long on each scale. Unlike the closele related New Zealand genus Manoao, the scales do not become fleshy and are water-dispersed, not bird-dispersed (Molloy 1995).

A stand of trees reputed to be in excess of 10,500 years in age was recently found in North Western Tasmania on Mount Read. Each of the trees in this stand is a genetically identical male that has reproduced vegetatively. Although no single tree in this stand is of that age, the stand itself as a single organism has been in existence that long.

The wood was highly prized for its golden yellow colour, fine grain and natural oils that resisted rotting. Heavy logging of the trees for its fine timber coupled with the trees' slow growth has led to remaining stands being less than 10,500 hectares (26,000 acres). The remaining stands of this species of tree now has protected status within the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

References and external links

  • Quinn, C. J. 1982. Taxonomy of Dacrydium Sol. ex Lamb. Australian Journal of Botany 30: 311-320.
  • Molloy, B. P. J. 1995. Manoao (Podocarpaceae), a new monotypic conifer genus endemic to New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 33: 183-201. Available online (http://www.rsnz.org/publish/nzjb/1995/65.pdf) (pdf file).
  • Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/wha/whahome.html)
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