Nageia nivalis (Hook.) Kuntze
Podocarpus montanus Colenso
Common Name: Alpine Totara
Podocarpus nivalis is a prostrate to semi-prostrate evergreen shrub with wide-spreading branches, or sometimes becoming rather like a miniature tree with a slender trunk. It can grow up to 3 metres tall[
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use as a food. It is grown as an ornamental in gardens, where it can be used as a ground cover.
Podocarpus nivalis is widespread in much of the highland part of New Zealand, and has not been affected to any great extent by deforestation. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
Superficially similar to Taxus species, but this plant is definitely not poisonous[
New Zealand - North, South and Stewart Islands.
Upper forest margins, sub-alpine to alpine scrubland and tussock grassland, commonly creeping low over rocks but becoming more erect when competing with tall grasses or in scrub; at elevations from 800 - 2,500 metres[
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Based on data from 416 collection localities, Podocarpus nivalis grows n a region where the mean annual temperature is 6.9°c, with an average minimum in the coldest month of -2.6°c (the lowest recorded for a species of Podocarpaceae), and a mean annual precipitation of 2,620mm. It can withstand considerable frost, tolerating winter temperatures down to between -17.7°c and -12.2°c[
].. Another report says that plant can tolerate short-lived temperatures falling as low as -25°c[
], though the plants grow best in mild winter areas with plenty of rainfall and high humidity[
]. They often fruit freely in Britain[
Prefers a rich moist non-alkaline soil[
]. Plants are shade tolerant, at least when young[
A very ornamental plant[
], it is very tolerant of trimming[
Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[
A dioecious species - both male and female forms must be grown if fruit and seed are required.
Fruit - raw or cooked[
]. Sweet and pleasant to taste[
]. The fruit is about 7mm long[
]. The 'fruit' is actually a succulent, swollen, fruit-like stalk[
Plants have a sprawling habit, the branches rooting as they grow, and can be grown as a tall ground cover[
]. They are best spaced about 1.2 metres apart[
The seed can be sown at any time of the year in a sandy soil in a warm greenhouse, though it is probably best sown as soon as it is ripe[
]. 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 half-ripe terminal shoots, 5 - 10cm long, mid summer in a frame[