Key to Tasmanian Dicots
Pherosphaera hookeriana (= Microstrobos niphophilus; Podocarpaceae) 1:2  

Pherosphaera hookeriana (until recently known as Microstrobos niphophilus) is an uncommon native shrub found in alpine and subalpine areas of central and southern Tasmania. It is very fire sensitive and only grows in fire-free areas, in alpine conifer heath and montane rainforest. It is slow growing and may live for many hundreds of years.

P. hookeriana is endemic to Tasmania and there is only other species in this genus (a very rare species in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales). The adult leaves are scale like, overlapping like tiles and are spirally arranged around the stem. These leafy stems are only about 1-1.5 mm across. Seedlings are very uncommon (this species often resprouts from trunks buried in the peat), but have narrow, spreading leaves a few mm long. The female cones are small (~3-4mm across) and are dry when mature.

This species is often confused with the more widespread species, Diselma archeri, which lives in similar areas. Diselma archeri has similar growth habit, but has opposite and decussate leaves. It can also be confused with the rare alpine specimens of Lagarostrobos franklinii. This species has elongated female cones, and has stomata on the outer surface of the leaves. Small specimens of Athrotaxis cupressoides could also possibly be confused, but these have wider leafy stems (~ 2-3 mm wide).


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