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


Podocarpus nivalis (Snow totara)

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Podocarpaceae
Genus: Podocarpus
Species: P. nivalis
Binomial name: Podocarpus nivalis
Synonyms: Podocarpus nivalis var. nivalis, Podocarpus nivalis var. erectus
Common names:  Snow totara, Mountain totara

Podocarpus nivalis is a species of conifer in the Podocarpaceae family and is found only in New Zealand. It grows in the mountains and subalpine lands from 37° to the far south New Zealand about 46° South Latitude. On Mt Egmont/Taranaki P. nivalis grows in only two places on the Pouakai Range.
It is a prostrate to suberect, spreading woody shrub forming broadly domed patches up to 1.5 × 3.0 m.
P. nivalis is common in open tussock grassland, subalpine scrub and herbfield, at the base of active scree, amongst boulder falls and on cliff faces and razorback ridges. Sometimes extending down into beech (Nothofagus forest) and down into valley heads. In the North Island it is virtually confined to subalpine and alpine areas.

For more details visit: http://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora_details.aspx?ID=1175 

Podocarpus nivalis has many variations of foliage colour, shape and vigour in the wild, as seen in photos below.
This plant was photographed at Otari Wilton Nature Reserve, Wellington.




Leaves of a young tree.






Podocarpus “Jack's Pass' (photo below) is a more dense form of Podocarpus nivalis, from Jack's Pass near Molesworth Station, New Zealand.