Dacrycarpus dacrydioides

Toggle more/fewer photos


Dacrycarpus dacrydioides


Dacrycarpus: tear shaped fruit
dacrydioides: like a dacrydium

Common Name(s)

kahikatea, white pine

Current Threat Status

2012 - Not Threatened

Previous Threat Status

2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Dacrycarpus dacrydioides (A.Rich.) de Laub.



Flora Category

Vascular - Native


Dacrydium excelsum D.Don in Lamb., Dacrydium ferrugineum Houttee ex Gord., Dacrydium thuioides Banks et Solander ex Carr., Nageia excelsa Kuntze, Podocarpus dacrydioides Richard, Podocarpus thujoides R.Br. In Bennett, Podocarpus excelsus (D.Don) Druce; Podocarpus excelsus (D. Don.) Druce


Endemic. North, South and Stewart Islands


Lowland forest, formerly dominant on frequently flooded, and/or poorly drained alluvial soils. Occasionally extends into lower montane forest. Once the dominant tree of a distinct swamp forest type all but extinct in the North Island - the best examples remain on the West Coast of the South Island.


Stout, dioecious, cohort-forming conifer, 50 (-65) m. tall. Trunk 1(-2) m diam., often fluted and buttressed. Bark grey to dark-grey, falling in thick, sinuous flakes. Wood white, odourless. Trunks bare for 3/4 of length, subadults with a distinctive columnar growth habit, branches arising from 1/3 to 1/2 of trunk length. Branchlets slender, drooping. Leaves of juveniles subdistichous, subpatent, narrow-linear, subfalcate, acuminate, decurrent, 3-7 x 0.5-1mm red, wine-red, dark-green to green.; of subadults less than or equal to 4 mm., dark green or red; those of adults 1-2 mm., imbricating, appressed, keel, subtrigonous, lanceolate-subulate to acuminate with broader base, brown-green or glaucous. Male cones terminal, oblong, 10 mm. Pollen pale yellow. Ovule, terminal, solitary glaucescent. Receptacle fleshy, oblong, compressed, warty, 2.5-6.5 mm., yellow to orange-red. Seed broadly obovate to circular (4-)4.5-6 mm diam., purple-black, thickly covered in glaucous bloom.

Similar Taxa

A distinctive tree of usually swampy alluvial terraces. The columnar growth form of subadults, buttressed and fluted trunk bases, scale-like leaves, and terminal fruits bearing the distinctive circular seeds serve to immediately distinguish this species from all other indigenous conifers.


October - January

Main Flower Colour

No Flowers

Other Flower Colour



February - April

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed. Can be grown from hard-wood cuttings but rather slow to strike.


Not Threatened, although as a forest-type it has been greatly reduced through widespread logging. Very few intact examples of kahikatea-dominated forest remain in the North Island.

Chromosome No.

2n = 20

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Commonly cultivated and frequently sold by most commercial nurseries and outlets. A very popular garden tree. A form with distinctly glaucous foliage is occasionally on offer.

Cultural Use/Importance

Kahikatea is New Zealands tallest indigenous tree. The white odourless timber was used extensively to make butter boxes, for much of the late 1800s and early 1900s. It was this practice which all but eliminated kahikatea-dominated swamp forest from the North Island and northern South Island.

Fact Sheet Citation

Please cite as:  de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of Access): Dacrycarpus dacrydioides Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. http://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora_details.aspx?ID=2099   (Date website was queried)

References and further reading

Allan, H.H. 1961: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. I. Wellington, Government Printer.

Gardner, R. 2001. Notes towards an excursion Flora. Rimu and kahikatea (Podocarpaceae). Auckland Botanical Society Journal, 56: 74-75


This page last updated on 13 Sep 2018

Search Flora

Member Login

Username: Password:

FAQs | Contact us | Desktop version