Carriere, Coniferes, p. 502; Gordon, Pinetum, p. 140; Henk. and Hochst., Nadelhölz, p. 173.
Phyllocladus trichomanoides, Don; β. glauca, DC., Prodromus, XVI., part ii., p. 498.
A diœcious tree, 20–40 feet high, trunk 12–18 inches in diameter, branches stout; young leaves linear, glaucous beneath, crowded; scale leaves deciduous, recurved; cladodia distichous on a rachis 5–12 inches long; one or two at the end of a branch becoming produced into true branches, each developing a whorl of cladodia somewhat smaller than the original. Lateral cladodia glaucous when young, exceedingly coriaceous, rhomboid, or obliquely ovate-cuneate, deeply toothed or lobed; teeth obtuse. Flowers: male—amenta numerous, 10–20 at the tips of a branch, on stout radiating peduncles, including the peduncles about two inches long; scales obtuse; female—amenta distichous, shortly peduncled, 4–6 on each side of the lower part of a rachis; ovoid, half-an-inch long; nuts 10–20, much compressed.
Hab. North Island: Maungatawhiri—R. Mair! Great Omaha (1865), Great Barrier Island (1867), Cape Colville, Thames Gold Field—T. K.; Wairoa (East)—W. J. Palmer.
This species ascends from the sea level to 2,800 feet, attaining its largest dimensions in sheltered localities at the higher levels.
This is the toa-toa of the Maoris north of the Waitemata, but according to Colenso, the East Coast natives south of the Thames apply that name to the next species. Settlers in the South Island often apply it to P. alpina.
Although this species is glaucous in the young state, the specific name is not so appropriate as it would be to P. alpina.
The large size of the cladodia and the many-seeded fruit at once distinguish this fine species from its congeners; to these marked distinctive features may be added its diœcious character and long peduncled male catkins, which are more numerous than in either P. trichomanoides or P. alpina. The female catkins are not borne on the margins of cladodia, but
on short peduncles which occupy their place and are confined to the lower part of the rachis. The nuts are arranged in slightly interrupted spirals.
The young leaves disappear about the second or third year. The mature plant bears some resemblance to the ginko, Salisburia adiantifolia.