T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Phyllocladus alpinus (Mountain Toatoa)

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Phyllocladaceae
Genus: Phyllocladus
Species: P. alpinus
Binominal name: Phyllocladus alpinus
Synonym: Phyllocladus aspleniifolius var. alpinus
Common name: Mountain Toatoa,  Mountain Celery Pine.

Phyllocladus alpinus is one of three Phyllocladus species native to New Zealand, the others being Toatoa (P. toatoa) and Tanekaha (P. Trichomanoides) all of which are a species of conifer in the Podocarpaceae family. 
It is an evergreen shrub or small tree growing to 2.4–9 m high. 
What appear to be green leaves are cladodes and are specialised flattened stems, known as phylloclades that perform the same function as true leaves. They are deeply lobed, up to 2.5 cm long, although they can be longer. It has red male strobili (cones) in bundles in summer on the tips of the branchlets in clusters of two to five. The inconspicuous female flowers arise during spring along the margins of the phylloclades.
It is found in subalpine forests in North and South Islands, New Zealand.

Phyllocladus alpinus covered in male cones (April)


Male cones


Male cones


Red pollen cones November.






A juvenile shrub