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Useful Temperate Plants

Dacrydium cupressinum

Sol. ex G.Forst.

Podocarpaceae

+ Synonyms

Dacrydium cupressiforme Carrière

Thalamia cupressina (Sol. ex G.Forst.) Spreng.

Common Name: Rimu

No Image.

General Information

Dacrydium cupressinum is an evergreen tree with a crown that is pyramidal when young, becoming round-topped with strong lateral branches as it matures; it can grow 20 - 35 metres tall, occasionally reaching 55 metres. The straight, cylindrical bole can be 150cm or more in diameter on mature trees[
329
Title
The Gymnosperm Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.conifers.org/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A vast amount of information on conifers and families of gymnosperms.
].
Rimu used to be one of the major timber trees of New Zealand, but is at present (2017) the wild stock is protected from exploitation. Traditionally, the tree was also harvested from the wild as a source of food and materials. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental.
This species, and its main forest type, has undergone a significant decline over the last several centuries. However, the majority of this decline pre-dates the period of this assessment. In the absence of any current or ongoing decline the plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
, 200,
329
Title
The Gymnosperm Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.conifers.org/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A vast amount of information on conifers and families of gymnosperms.

Range

New Zealand - North, South and Stewart Islands

Habitat

A canopy or emergent tree in lowland and montane forests; at elevations to 800 metres[
44
Title
Flora of New Zealand.
Publication
 
Author
Allan. H. H.
Website
http://floraseries.landcareresearch.co.nz/pages/Book.aspx?fileName=Flora%201.xml
Publisher
Government Printer, Wellington.
Year
1961
ISBN
-
Description
The standard work, in 5 volumes though only the first two are of interest to the plant project. Very good on habitats. There is also an on-line version.
,
329
Title
The Gymnosperm Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.conifers.org/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A vast amount of information on conifers and families of gymnosperms.
].

Properties

Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Edibility Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height30.00 m
Growth RateSlow
PollinatorsWind
Self-fertileNo
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

Dacrydium cupressinum Within its range, mean annual temperature is 10.4°C, with an average minimum in the coldest month of 1.2°C, and a mean annual precipitation of 2633 mm[
329
Title
The Gymnosperm Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.conifers.org/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A vast amount of information on conifers and families of gymnosperms.
]. (cold hardiness limit between -6.6°C and -1.1°C[
329
Title
The Gymnosperm Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.conifers.org/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A vast amount of information on conifers and families of gymnosperms.
].
Requires a light, freely draining soil in a sheltered position with protection from cold winds[
164
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 4.
Publication
 
Author
Bird. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1990
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. A good article on Yuccas, one on Sagebrush (Artemesia spp) and another on Chaerophyllum bulbosum.
]. Requires high rainfall and humidity if it is to succeed. It tolerates shade and probably requires it in drier areas if the tree is to survive. Requires warm humid summers and mild humid winters if it is to grow well, and even then it is very slow growing[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. It is best grown in a woodland garden[
166
Title
The Milder Garden.
Publication
 
Author
Taylor. J.
Publisher
Dent
Year
1990
ISBN
 
Description
A good book on plants that you didn't know could be grown outdoors in Britain.
].
This species is only hardy in the very mildest areas of the country and does not really thrive even there[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
]. A tree on the Scilly Isles was 9 metres tall in 1970[
185
Title
Conifers in the British Isles.
Publication
 
Author
Mitchell. A. F.
Publisher
HMSO
Year
1975
ISBN
0-11-710012-9
Description
A bit out of date (first published in 1972), but an excellent guide to how well the various species of conifers grow in Britain giving locations of trees.
]. Seed from a more alpine provenance might be more successful[
81
Title
Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Rushforth. K.
Publisher
Christopher Helm
Year
1987
ISBN
0-7470-2801-X
Description
Deals with conifers that can be grown outdoors in Britain. Good notes on cultivation and a few bits about plant uses.
].
A dioecious species, both male and female forms must be grown if fruit and seed are required[
329
Title
The Gymnosperm Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.conifers.org/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A vast amount of information on conifers and families of gymnosperms.
].

Logging and forest clearing have reduced the population historically, these activities have now ceased. Due to changes in land use which are permanent, the population became fragmented, although not severely fragmented in an IUCN sense. Regeneration is causing the population to increase again[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].
A dominant or codominant emergent in mixed conifer (podocarp) forest or conifer-angiosperm forest at low to middle elevations up to 700 m a.s.l. These forests are (warm) temperate evergreen rain forests with year-round high precipitation and are multi-layered with emergent conifers, a canopy of conifers and/or angiosperms, an understorey of shrubs, tree ferns and palms, and a ground cover of ferns and mosses. In the kauri forest of Northland D. Cupressinum is a minor component, but in other forest types it is often the most common species, sometimes occurring in nearly pure stands. Very large specimens may be around 1,000 years old, but few of these survive today in only remnants of a once extensive native lowland forest cover[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].
Due to severe depletion of this natural resource, exploitation has been halted and this species is now protected from logging by law. As a slow growing tree it is not considered suitable for plantation forestry and it finds only limited use as an amenity tree in gardens and parks, mainly in New Zealand[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].
regeneration takes place continually beneath an intact forest canopy. Initially very large numbers of seedling are produced, which experience very high mortality within a few years. The surviving sapling and small trees may persist beneath the canopy for 100 to 400 years, during which time they grow exceedingly slowly. When a gap-phase event such as windthrow or death of an overstory tree creates a localized opening in the canopy, the pole-size trees may be able to exploit the improved light environment and finally become canopy codominant trees[
329
Title
The Gymnosperm Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.conifers.org/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A vast amount of information on conifers and families of gymnosperms.
].

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw or cooked[
2
Title
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Hedrick. U. P.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1972
ISBN
0-486-20459-6
Description
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
,
153
Title
Economic Native Plants of New Zealand.
Publication
 
Author
Brooker. S. G., Cambie. R. C. and Cooper. R. C.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1991
ISBN
0-19-558229-2
Description
An interesting and readable book on the useful plants of New Zealand.
,
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. It can be somewhat constipating[
173
Title
Native Edible Plants of New Zealand.
Publication
 
Author
Crowe. A.
Publisher
Hodder and Stoughton
Year
1990
ISBN
0-340-508302
Description
A very well written and illustrated book based on the authors own experiments with living on a native diet.
].

A resinous substance from the young branches has been used to make an alcoholic beverage resembling spruce beer[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. The resin is bitter but edible[
173
Title
Native Edible Plants of New Zealand.
Publication
 
Author
Crowe. A.
Publisher
Hodder and Stoughton
Year
1990
ISBN
0-340-508302
Description
A very well written and illustrated book based on the authors own experiments with living on a native diet.
].
In March 1773 (on his second voyage), Captain James Cook stopped in Dusky Sound to brew a beer he called a spruce beer, intended to combat scurvy, made from sugar (treacle or molasses) fermented with young rimu shoots (Salmon 1996). Such beers, made with young spruce (Picea) shoots, were commonly used for the purpose in England and the New World, due to the high vitamin C content of the young shoots[
329
Title
The Gymnosperm Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.conifers.org/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A vast amount of information on conifers and families of gymnosperms.
].

Medicinal

The cones are rich in bioavailable calcium and vitamin D. The kakapo (Strigops habroptilus), a highly endangered parrot endemic to New Zealand (and the heaviest parrot in the world), has been found to breed successfully only during D. cupressinum mast years. The vitamin D is in the D3 form, formerly thought to be produced only by animals, more recently discovered to be produced by some plants in the Solanaceae; this is the first report of it being produced by a conifer (von Hurst et al. 2016)[
329
Title
The Gymnosperm Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.conifers.org/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A vast amount of information on conifers and families of gymnosperms.
].

Other Uses

The heartwood is extremely resinous and is used as a torch[
128
Title
Plants of New Zealand.
Publication
 
Author
Laing. and Blackwell.
Publisher
Whitcombe and Tombs Ltd
Year
1907
ISBN
-
Description
An old flora of New Zealand in a readable style. Some details of plant uses.
].

The bark is a rich source of tannin[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
61
Title
A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Usher. G.
Publisher
Constable
Year
1974
ISBN
0094579202
Description
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
,
329
Title
The Gymnosperm Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.conifers.org/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A vast amount of information on conifers and families of gymnosperms.
].

The deep red coloured wood is strong, hard and durable[
329
Title
The Gymnosperm Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.conifers.org/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A vast amount of information on conifers and families of gymnosperms.
]. Beautifully marked, it is much used for construction, railway sleepers, furniture etc[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
61
Title
A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Usher. G.
Publisher
Constable
Year
1974
ISBN
0094579202
Description
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
,
171
Title
Economic Botany.
Publication
 
Author
Hill. A. F.
Publisher
The Maple Press
Year
1952
ISBN
-
Description
Not very comprehensive, but it is quite readable and goes into some detail about the plants it does cover.
].
Rimu or Red Pine was, when exploited, the major timber tree in New Zealand as it was ubiquitous throughout the lowlands of the major islands and attained large sizes. The wood is reddish brown in colour, often finely figured and very durable and strong. It was used in general construction, for bridges, railway sleepers, fence posts, indoor flooring and panelling, and furniture. The most decoratively figured pieces were reserved for cabinet making[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].
The heartwood is nearly always beautifully figured, as a result of the grain being twisted during growth. Heart rimu is one of the most beautifully figured woods in the world, and for this reason has always been highly prized in New Zealand as a finishing timber for doors, door frames, panelling and furniture[
329
Title
The Gymnosperm Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.conifers.org/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A vast amount of information on conifers and families of gymnosperms.
].

Propagation

Seed - sow spring in a freely draining compost[
164
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 4.
Publication
 
Author
Bird. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1990
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. A good article on Yuccas, one on Sagebrush (Artemesia spp) and another on Chaerophyllum bulbosum.
]. It usually germinates in 1 - 3 months at 20°c[
164
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 4.
Publication
 
Author
Bird. R. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1990
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. A good article on Yuccas, one on Sagebrush (Artemesia spp) and another on Chaerophyllum bulbosum.
]. Another report says that the seed can be very slow to germinate and that it is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Cuttings of short leading shoots in early autumn[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
].
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2018-09-24. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Dacrydium+cupressinum>

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