Key to Tasmanian Dicots
Back
 
Athrotaxis cupressoides (Cupressaceae) 1:6

Athrotaxis cupressoides (Pencil Pine) is a native tree or erect shrub mostly found in open alpine and subalpine vegetation, although it can also occur as a rainforest tree. It is endemic to Tasmania. It is fire sensitive and is found in most unburnt, high altitude areas especially on or near the Central Plateau. It isn't known in the north-east, and only occurs in a few areas of the South-West. The genus has one other species (A. selaginoides), which is also endemic to southern, western and central Tasmania. The two species hybridise (producing A. x laxifolia).

The genus Athrotaxis has spirally arranged, single-veined leaves, and woody cones. The leaves of A. cupressoides are small (about 2-3mm long and wide) and scale-like. This species often has a distinctly conical shape (hence the name, Pencil Pine), especially when growing in open alpine and subalpine vegetation. It is rarely a tall tree, but can have massive trunks (>1.5 m diameter) and live for more than 1000 years. The female cones are typically about 12-15 mm in diameter, and the scales are blunt-ended with a small scale on the end.

 

 

 
© 2017 University of Tasmania
Contact: Greg.Jordan@utas.edu.au