Dacrydium mai A.Cunn.
Dacrydium taxifolium Sol. ex D.Don
Nageia spicata (R.Br. ex Mirb.) F.Muell.
Podocarpus spicatus R.Br.
Stachycarpus spicatus (R.Br.) Tiegh.
Common Name: Matai
Prumnopitys taxifolia is an evergreen tree with a broad crown held on stout, erect, spreading branches; it can grow up to 25 metres tall. The straight, cylindrical bole can be up to 125cm in diameter[
New Zealand - North, South and Stewart Islands.
Based on data from 209 collection localities, the climate preferences of Prumnopitys taxifolia include a mean annual temperature of 12°c, with an average minimum in the coldest month of 3°c, and a mean annual precipitation of 1,570mm. It is moderately resistant to frost, tolerating occasional, short-lived temperatures falling to between -6.6°c and -1.1°[
Thrives in any good soil, including chalk[
]. Requires a sheltered position[
Trees can be long-lived, with some specimens known to be more than 1,300 years old[
A dioecious species, both male and female forms must be grown if seed and fruit are required.
Fruit - raw[
]. A sweet flavour[
]. The fruit is about 10mm in diameter and contains one seed[
The watery sap is drunk or used in the preparation of a beer-like beverage[
]. It is best from trees that are neither too young nor too old[
Other reports say that the young shoots are made into a beverage resembling spruce beer[
The plant is very tolerant of trimming and can be grown as a hedge[
The wood is brown, heavy, very hard and brittle with a close, attractive grain. It is exceptionally strong and durable, much used for construction, bridges, flooring and weatherboarding. It is also used, to a lesser extent, in the manufacture of furniture[
Seed - it can be sown at any time of the year in a sandy soil in a greenhouse[
]. It can take 18 months to germinate[
]. 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 wood, mid summer in a frame. Easy[
Cuttings of ripe wood with a heel in late summer.