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photograph

Foliage and cones on an ornamental specimen, Pinetum Blijdenstein, Netherlands [C. J. Earle, 2010.06.11].

photograph

Seed cone [M. Frankis, 2003].

photograph

Range map (Brown et al. 1983). You can also create a highly detailed map, and access specimen data, using the "search" function at the Australia Virtual Herbarium.

 

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Conservation status

Athrotaxis x laxifolia

Hooker 1843

Common names

Summit or yellow-twig Athrotaxis (Silba 1986).

Taxonomic notes

Syn: Athrotaxis doniana Henk. & Hochst. (Silba 1986). These trees are a hybrid of Athrotaxis cupressoides and Athrotaxis selaginoides; individual trees are only found in areas where both of the other species occur, display intermediate foliage characters; greenhouse studies have shown that the hybrids are fertile and will interbreed (Farjon 2010). Accordingly, it is here treated as a nothospecies, although it is not known if plants in habitat are primarily F1 hybrids or subsequent generations of hybrid parents.

Description

Monoecious tree with a conical, sparsely branched crown, 12-21 m. tall. Bark dark orange-brown, deeply fissured, flaky, exfoliating. Seasonal branchlets pale or bright yellow. Leaves ovate-lanceolate, slightly spreading, acute, 6 mm. long, with 2 white bands of stomata below, margins entire and translucent, apex incurved. Male cone with 2 pollen sacs. Female cone produced in pairs, densely clustered on ends of short shoots, ovoid, bright yellow or pale, 1.5-3 cm. wide, on a peduncle 2-3 mm. long; scales thin, triangular, papery, wavy, glaucous at the base, without prominent umbos. Seeds with 2 narrow wings (Silba 1986).

Distribution and Ecology

Australia: Tasmania: Mountain rainforests at elevations of 900 to 1200 m. The seeds are wind-dispersed (ANBG [no date]).

Big tree

Oldest

A maximum age of 1300 years is given by ANBG [no date], with no supporting data.

Dendrochronology

Ethnobotany

The timber is soft and pale red. It is not used commercially because the trees are not common and grow as isolated individuals (ANBG [no date]).

Observations

The species can be found, in general, wherever the parent species occur in close proximity (usually, within a few hundred meters of each other). I have seen it along the track between Dove Lake and Weindorfer's Pillar at Cradle Mountain National Park, and also at several locations along the Shelf Tarns track at Mount Field National Park. Both are easy dayhikes from a good road.

Remarks

The epithet laxifolia refers to the wider spacing of the leaves, compared to other Athrotaxis species, which makes the twigs easily bendable.

Citations

Brown, M.J., J.B. Kirkpatrick and A. Moscal. 1983. An atlas of Tasmania's endemic flora. Hobart: Tasmania Conservation Trust. ISBN 0-9599816-8-3.

See also

Farjon (2005).

Gymnosperms of New Zealand.

Last Modified 2016-02-25