A tall tree which, in the wild, is New Zealand's tallest, attaining heights of 50-60 m. Bark thin, grey-brown. Foliage often bronze-coloured. Juvenile leaves in more or less two-ranked sprays, the individual leaflets being less than 1 cm long, slightly sickle-shaped and with acute tips. Semi-adult leaves similar but smaller, about 4 mm long. Adult leaves scale-like, to 2 mm long. Plants unisexual. Male cones terminal, to 8 mm long, about as wide as the branchlet and brownish when mature. Female cones with red berry-like receptacle when ripe, mostly late Feb.
Occurs naturally mostly in swampy lowland forest areas of the North and South islands and Stewart Island although it will grow well on dry ground.
NSW: Mt Tomah (Bot. Gds); Sydney (Royal Bot. Gds). VIC: Ballarat (Victoria Park); Belgrave ('Glen Harrow' old Coles nsy site); Melbourne (Royal Bot. Gds, male and female plants in the New Zealand Groups).
Source: (1995). Podocarpaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 1, Ferns, conifers & their allies. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.