Manoao colensoi (Silver pine)
Species: M. colensoi
Binomial name: Manoao colensoi
Synonyms: Dacrydium colensoi, Largarostrobus colensoi, Dacrydium westlandicum,
Common names: Manoao, Silver pine, Westland pine, white silver pine.
The endemic genus Manoao has one species, M. colensoi which is a very hardy slow growing small tree 15 m or more in height with a straight clear trunk that can be up to 1 m diameter with slender branchlets. In its younger stages the silver pine is a cone-shaped tree but later develops a tall, moderately spreading crown. Bark is a brown-grey.
There are three distinct growth stages, each defined by the foliage. In the juvenile tree the leaves are 6-12 mm long, narrow, pointed, rather limp and spreading with distinct bands of stomata on their undersurfaces. As the plant reaches the semi-adult stage, the leaves are smaller, 3-4.5 mm long, subfalcate, flattened and arranged in two opposite rows in the same plane. The adult leavy twigs are very slender 1,5 mm in diameter.
Male and female cones occur in abundance on separate trees or the same tree. The male cones are about 5 mm long with 12-15 scales. Female cones are reduced to 6-7 scales with 1-2 fertile scales at the tip. When ripe the bluish black seed is exposed in a fleshy green cup formed by enlargement of the fertile scale.
Manoao occurs in high-rainfall areas throughout the northern half of the North Island and west of the Southern Alps on the South Island from sea level to an altitude of about 950. It is notably absent from large parts of the North Island, eastern South Island, Fiordland, and Stewart Island. Usually it is found on older, poorly drained surfaces with leached infertile soils and in acid swamps and peats.
It is often confused with Halocarpus biformis, which differs in the juvenile foliage and stouter branchlets.
Photographed at Otari Native Botanic Garden and Wilton's Bush Reserve. Wellington.
Some red pollen cones on upturned terminal branchlets.