Thursday, 10 May 2012


Athrotaxis is a genus of two to three species (depending on taxonomic opinion) of conifers in the cypress family, Cupressaceae. The genus is endemic to western Tasmania, where they grow in high altitude temperate rainforests.

They are medium-sized evergreen trees, reaching 10-30 m (rarely 40 m) tall and 1-1.5 m trunk diameter. The leaves are scale-like, 3-14 mm long, are borne spirally on the shoots. The cones are globose to oval, 1-3 cm diameter, with 15-35 scales, each scale with 3-6 seeds; they are mature in 7-9 months after pollination, when they open to release the seeds. The male (pollen) cones are small, and shed their pollen in early spring.

They are very susceptible to bush fires, and have declined markedly in abundance due to accidental and deliberate fires since the European colonisation of Tasmania.

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