Podocarpus lawrencei

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Podocarpus lawrencei
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Division: Pinophyta
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Class: Pinopsida
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Order: Pinales
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Family: Podocarpaceae
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Genus: Podocarpus
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Species: P. lawrencei
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Binomial name
Podocarpus lawrencei
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Type Species

Podocarpus lawrencei is a species of podocarp native throughout the Australian high country, from southern Tasmania through to the New South Wales highlands, where it is known by the confusing name of Mountain Plum-pine (it is not a pine nor a plum). It grows on exposed sites to 1,800 m, often forming living carpets over rocks through wind pruning.

The leaves are 1 cm long and 2-3 mm broad, green, often reddish-tinted, particularly so in cold winter weather. It has small bright red berry-like cones, with a 5-10 mm long red aril and one (rarely two) apical seeds 6-8 mm long; they are eaten by birds and marsupials, but are toxic to most other mammals (including humans).

Whilst it is normally low growing, rarely reaching more than 1 m in the Australian Alps, on the Errinundra Plateau in eastern Victoria it reaches 15 m height. The timber is too rare to be used for woodcrafts.

There has been some debate over whether Podocarpus lawrencei is really a separate species from Podocarpus alpinus; some botanists treat it as a variety of that species. The name is frequently misspelled as lawrencii.


Mountain Plum-pine is tolerant of quite dry conditions and can resprout after losing all its leaves from drought. It survives −16°C to 45°C and grows well in full sun or fairly heavy shade. It is slow growing, putting on about 3-5 cm of length each year. It can be grown from cuttings or seed. New foliage is usually a lime green, darkening to olive green as it hardens.

Ideally the Mountain Plum-pine should be grown in full sunlight with plenty of water. It makes a good indoor plant in a bright window. It is an excellent bonsai or hedging plant, although it does require patience.


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