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H. Nimsch [2008]
Characterization of Dacrydium x suprinii Nimsch, recently described hybrid of
Dacrydium araucarioides Brongn. et Griseb. & Dacrydium guillauminii Buchh.
in New Caledonia

Journal de Botanique, 2008, 42 (), pp. 7-19, Société Botanique de France, Paris.

Table of Contents


I  General Introduction to the Field of Research

1 Geographic data
2 Climate
3 Soil

II  Introduction


1 Taxonomy of the genus Dacrydium
2 Distribution
3 Description


1 Taxonomy of Dacrydium araucarioides
2 Distribution
3 Description


1 Taxonomy of Dacrydium guillauminii
2 Distribution (including distribution map)
3 Description


1 Dacrydium x suprinii
2 Holotype
3 Distribution
4 Description
5 Descriptive botany of plots

Sample plot N° 1
Sample plot N° 2
Sample plot N° 3

III Etymology

IV  Conservation Status

V   Relationships

VI  Discussion

VII Acknowledgements

VIII Bibliography



In january 1994, during botanical studies in the area of the “Plaine des Lacs” in New Caledonia the author found a type of conifer, of wich the systematic assignment firstly remained vague.
During the following years B. SUPRIN, Nouméa, found more specimens and sites.
In 2005/2006 on a third field trip to the natural habitats in the south-east of the Grande Terre three more specimens could be registered.

The conifer is a natural hybrid of Dacrydium araucarioides and Dacrydium guillauminii growing only at three sites in New Caledonia.
These sites are exclusively located within the few small distribution areas of Dacrydium guillauminii and are described and plotted in a detailed map for the first time.
In all external characteristics Dacrydium x suprinii appears to be set between its parents, an assumption confirmed by DNA analysis.

Field records and some photographs serve to precisely describe the hybrid and its environment.


Dacrydium x suprinii – Description – Geographic distribution – Natural habitat


I. General introduction to the field of research

1. Geographic data

New Caledonia is located between the 19° and 23° of Southern Latitude and the  164° and 167° of Eastern Longitude.
Habitat: SE of the Grande Terre; Plaine des Lacs, map no. 4837, Série orange of the Institut Géographique National.
Area: Chutes de la Madeleine.

2. Climate

The climate is tropical oceanic.
Annual precipitations range from less than 1000 mm for the western coastal areas up to 4000 mm for the mountain range of Mt. Panié in the north, the Massif de Kouakoué and the Mt. Humboldt in the south.
The amount of precipitations for Plaine des Lacs range from 2000 mm to 3000 mm.
Due to the oceanic situation the average temperature is well-balanced. At Nouméa it ranges from 22° to 24° C.


3. Soil

Predominating are magnesium iron silicates and their weathering products, recognizable by their intensive russet colour.
Layers of this soil called serpentine often reach great thickness or can be found in all types of transition to bare rock.
This soil and the intensely tinging dust characterize one third of the island and the landscape of the Plaine des Lacs.
The ultra alkaline-rocks or peridotites, with a content of silicate less than 45%, are characterized by calcium deficiency and dependently by lack of phosporus, aluminium and alcaline earth metals (especially potassium).
In contrast, they are rich in iron and magnesium and partially the content of heavy metals like chromium, nickel, cobalt and manganese is high, conditions that surely affected the evolution of the flora.
Since 1875 until now the mining of nickel continues, the most important raw material.
Therefore the consequences for nature that are to be expected are grave.
Prospection and road construction might rapidly destroy the lightly spread out vegetation and the thin humus layer so that  intense and irreparable erosion will occur.

II. Introduction [A]

A 1  Taxonomy of the genus Dacrydium

In 1807 the genus Dacrydium was established by Solander et Forster.
Within botanical systematics, the genus Dacrydium is assigned to class Pinopsida, order Pinales and the family Podocarpaceae.
In 1969 the old genus Dacrydium was revised by D.J. DE LAUBENFELS; after the last revision by C.J. QUINN in 1982 it was subdivided into Falcatifolium, Halocarpus, Lagarostrobos, Lepidothamnus and Dacrydium.
(In 1995 MOLLOY subdivided Lagarostrobos colensoi and established the new genus Manoao.)  
Nowadays the genus comprises 20 species, including four in New Caledonia.

A 2  Distribution

The distribution area of the genus covers south-eastern Asia as far as Oceania.
In north-south direction the genus is spread in the south of China, in Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, the Fiji Islands, New Caledonia and New Zealand.
The species Dacrydium araucarioides and Dacrydium guillauminii as discussed herein can be found only in the southeast of New Caledonia.

  Dacrydium guillauminii Altbaeume Chutes de la Madeleine
pfNachObenChutes de la Madeleine: Natural habitat of
Dacrydium guillauminii and Dacrydium x suprinii


A 3  Description

The evergreen tress and shrubs of the genus Dacrydium are dioecious and closely related to the genus Podocarpus.
The needles of juvenile and adult plants may distinctly vary from each other ( e.g.  Dacrydium araucarioides) or may resemble each other ( e.g. Dacrydium guillauminii).
The sessile male cones are growing singly, female cones only show few fertile cone scales.
The seeds are more or less completely coated by the succulent arillus.

Both species merely reach maximum heights of 7 m and 5 m respectively, and although the yellowish or reddish wood reveals an attractive structure, the diameters of the trunks do not allow any timber utilization in contrast to other species of Dacrydium.

II. Introduction [B]

B 1  Taxonomy of the species Dacrydium araucarioides BRONGN. et  GRISEB.

The species Dacrydium araucarioides was initially described in 1866, viz. in the Bull. Soc. Bot. France 13:426 and in the Ann. Sci. Nat. Paris sér. 5,6:244.

Last revisions on the genus were made by D.J. DE LAUBENFELS in 1969 and by C.J. QUINN in 1982.

B 2  Distribution

Dacrydium araucarioides is distributed in the south and east of New Caledonia from sea level up to 1000 m altitude.
Distribution centres are the areas of the Rivière des Lacs and the Plaine des Lacs.

01 distribution darcydium araucarioides
pfNachOben Distribution: Dacrydium araucarioides (D.J. DE LAUBENFELS)



B 3  Description

Dacrydium araucarioides is a small tree growing 3-7 m high.
It can be found at relatively dry habitats often characterized by the lack of ground vegetation.
Due to the overall light or open vegetation the tree can develop a round crown with a structure resembling multi-storied candelabras.

Needles of juvenile twigs are lineal, loosely and all-around upright arranged, round about 1 cm long and reddish in colour during shoot.
The color of the juvenile branchlets in the shadow is blue-green.
Needles of adult branches are very small (of a length of only 3-5 mm and of 1-1,4 mm broadness).
They resemble close-fitting, overlapping scales and are arranged in several spiralling rows.
The needle basis is stem-clasping. The branches look cylindric due to the symmetrically arranged, pricker like aged needles, which have free tips without edges.

During maturation the tips of branches with seeds get purple and succulent.
Seeds are about 3 mm long and 1–3 of them are set inside the cone, coated by the fleshy arillus.

02 branchlet and seed
pfNachOben Dacrydium araucarioides
Branchlet (x2) with male flowers and seed scale (x3)


03 darcydium araucarioides young tree
pfNachOben Dacrydium araucarioides
Young Tree

05 darcydium araucarioides old tree
pfNachOben Dacrydium araucarioides
Old Tree

  04 darcydium araucarioides branchlets
pfNachOben Dacrydium araucarioides

II. Introduction [C]

C 1  Taxonomy of the species Dacrydium guillauminii BUCHHOLZ

The species Dacrydium guillauminii was first described in the Bull. Mus. Nat. Hist. Nat. Paris, sér. 2, 21.:282 in 1949, later on by SARLIN in Bois et Forêts de la Nouvelle-Calédonie:  92 et pl. 21 in 1954, and by HARRISON in DALLIMORE & JACKSON, Handbook Conif. Ed 4: 223 in 1966.

Last revisions on the genus were made by D.J. DE LAUBENFELS in 1969 and by C.J. QUINN in 1982.

C 2  Distribution

According to the map after B. SUPRIN, Nouméa, Nouvelle-Calédonie, 1990, about the distribution area of Dacrydium guillauminii, that is published herein for the first time, all of the nine small and micro-scale habitats are located at Rivière des Lacs and Plaine des Lacs. The importance of this map is stressed by the fact that the natural habitats of Dacrydium x suprinii are exclusively located within the distribution area of Dacrydium guillauminii.

Dacrydium II
Pfeil nach oben Dacrydium x suprinii
Branches compared
left: Dacrydium guillauminii
middle: Dacrydium araucarioides
right: Dacrydium x suprinii
Plaine des Lacs, Nouvelle-Caledonie
Foto:© H. Nimsch

Census of  Dacrydium guillauminii habitats in New Caledonia

Location 1:
Lac de Yate, former estuary  of the Rivière des Lacs. This habitat was recorded by Dr. HUERLIMANN, Switzerland (in 1957) and is extinguished now by damming the Yaté Lake.

Location 2:
A larger habitat of Neocallitropsis pancheri had existed once at the eastern side of the Rivière des Lacs and was destroyed due to the construction of the “Ligne de transport d’ énergie électrique” in the south of the main street (route principale). A smaller habitat of  Neocallitropsis pancheri remained at the western side of the Rivière des Lacs. There is no habitat of D. guillauminii.

Location 3:
Rivière des Lacs, a micro-scale habitat of several D. guillauminii together with some Neocallitropsis is located about 5 km upstream and close to the river.

Location 4:
Rivière des Lacs, a micro-scale habitat of eight D. guillauminii and two Neocallitropsis is located about 7 km upstream of the main street, likewise close to the river.

Location 5:
Rivière des Lacs, a habitat of a single specimen of D. guillauminii close to the river bank, without Neocallitropsis.

Location 6:
Rivière des Lacs, a micro-scale habitat of two D. guillauminii and a few Neocallitropsis is located about 12 km upstream of the main street.

Location 7:
Rivière des Lacs, at a site 13 km upstream of the main street the richest population of D. guillauminii can be found, mingled with numerous Retrophyllum minor. The small trees are reaching heights of 2-4 m. As all specimens of Retrophyllum are growing in the water, D. guillauminii is partly growing inside the water and partly close to the water. Dacrydium araucarioides sprouts a few meters off the river banks, 2-3 m above the water level of the river. At 4 m above water level the first Neocallitropsis can be found, loosely mingling with Dacrydium araucarioides. In spite of the fact that their habitats are situated 3-4 m above water level both last mentioned conifers may sometimes be reached by floods (December 2005/January 2006). Adjacently in the south extends a larger area to the Rivière des Lacs containing wet habitats with Retrophyllum and dry habitats with Neocallitropsis and a single D. guillauminii  growing directly at the bank.
B. SUPRIN, Nouméa, estimated that the age of all specimens of Dacrydium guillauminii, whose trunks reach diameters of 20-30 cm, amount to more than 300 years.

Location 8:
“Lac en Huit”, two micro-scale habitats exist at the most plane bank of the lake. The first site is located at the western bank of the lake, merely meters 20 x 15 m size, and contains very few D. guillauminii. The second site is situated at the southern bank of the Lac en Huit, a limited occurrence as well. Only a few D. guillauminii are growing there, all of them scarcely topping heights of 1 m. Their trunks only reach few centimeters in diameter, but the trees nevertheless appear to be very old. (B. SUPRIN, Nouméa, estimated more than 100 years.)

Location 9:
“Lac Intermédiare”, a single occurrence of D. guillauminii about 400 m in the northeast of the lake. The tree reaches a height of 1,80 m.

Location 10:
“Lac Intermédiaire”, a micro-scale habitat of D. guillauminii at the north - western bank of the lake. The plants do not exceed 1 m in height.

Location 11:
“Grand Lac”, at the western bank of the Grand Lac a habitat of Dacrydium guillauminii is situated, reaching the dimensions of 60 x 15 m along the very plain bank of the lake. Several up to 1 m high D. guillauminii are mingled there with a large number of Retrophyllum minor which are up to 1 m as well. Not far, i.e. about 15 m away from the lake bank and about 1 m above the water level of the lake, specimens of Dacrydium araucarioides and Neocallitropsis pancheri are growing among others.

  Area measurement

All habitats of D. guillauminii were added up in square metres in order to estimate the dimension of the over-all habitat. By using stretched dimensioning the whole habitat area accounted for 8900 square metres.

06 neukaledonien verbreitung dacrydium guillauminii und dacrydium x suprinii 250
pfNachOben New Caledonia: Distribution of Dacrydium guillauminii and Dacrydium x suprinii
After Bernard Suprin, Noumea, Nouvelle Caledonie, 1990


The over-all stock of D. guillauminii spans distinctly less than 1 hectare!
Therefore the extinction hazard for the species may be assessed as follows:

  • The nine small habitats, three of them micro-scale ones, that forms the over-all habitat of D. guillauminii, are spread out in the landscape with mostly great distances from each other.
  • Consequently, the narrowing of the genetic potential can be ascertained.
  • Due to biotic and abiotic damage of the fragmented over-all habitat, there may be serious concern about the future of the species.

Fortunately there are some positive approaches to conserve the species:

  • one-site protection measures made by the IRD Nouméa (Research Institute for Development)  are appreciated.
  • Natural protection of the habitats against fire is given by the location of D. guillauminii habitats in or alongside flowing waters or lake banks.
  • First success is brought about to create public awareness regarding the problem via public relations.
  • The problems are internationally realized resulting in the classification of Dacrydium guillauminii in the IUCN Red Data Book categories.

It may be stated here that the over-all habitat of Dacrydium guillauminii in the southeast of the Grande Terre was surely not large even before appropriation during colonisation, due to specific requirements regarding the habitat. Further studies about this issue are regarded as desirable.

C 3  Description

Dacrydium guillauminii is a downright rare tree.
Even in New Caledonia it can be found merely at a few and specific sites.
The tree grows very slowly up to 3 m, at most 4 m.
The oldest specismen are estimated to be more than 300 years old.
For approximately the first 20 years or more, young plants are growing tautly straight, without considerable collateral ramification.
Over the course of growth, a conical and regular crown develops that changes furthermore into a more turbid and abstract form.
Due to the closely arranged branches with dense foliation, the small trees appear more like shrubs.

Adult needles reach a length of 13-17 mm and a breadth of 1 mm.
It is difficult to detect the seed cone that always grows at twig tips.
It contains up to 5 seeds that are 4 mm long, and is enclosed by needles.
The occurrence of the species is limited to habitats along the banks of rivers and lakes.

Obviously, the tree roots are able to tolerate constant or lasting inundation. As the trunks of old trees are thickened up to the height of  80 cm, this can not be found for  young plants at the same site.
Retrophyllum minor specimen, also growing there and likewise occasionally or continuously under flood conditions, reveal much more thickened trunks than the former. Retrophyllum has markedly light wood of an almost sponge like consistence.

10 dacrydium guillauminii branchlet and seed
pfNachOben Dacrydium guillauminii: Branchlet (x 3) and seed scale (x 3)

07 dacrydium guillauminii young tree
pfNachOben Dacrydium guillauminii
Young Tree

08 dacrydium guillauminii branchlets
pfNachOben Dacrydium guillauminii
  09 dacrydium guillauminii old tree
pfNachOben Dacrydium guillauminii
Old Tree

II. Introduction [D]


D 1  Dacrydium x suprinii NIMSCH

(Dacrydium araucarioides x Dacrydium guillauminii)

D 2  Holotype

Collected:      29.12.2005
Collector: H. NIMSCH, Freiburg
Location: Chutes de la Madeleine
Collective No: 2122
Herbarium: Ruhr-Uni-Bochum
Lehrstuhl Spezielle Botanik
International herbarium: BOCH
More collective No: 2121 collected: Grand Lac 29.12.2005
2123 collected: Rivière des Lacs 29.12.2005

D 3  Distribution

Dacrydium x suprinii is growing exclusively at the same habitats like D. guillauminii.
There only three sites known, all within the distribution area of D. guillauminii.
More findings may be possible, but chances are limited due to the fact that the overall distribution area of D. guillauminii is small (see also distribution map)

D 4  Description

Dacrydium x suprinii is a natural hybrid, the characteristics of which are to be classified exactly midway between the parent species.
This is confirmed by every feature.
Dacrydium x suprinii is a small tree, reaching up to a maximum height of 4 m.
In its youth, the tree has a crown of a uniform structure of whorls, but it soon develops the erratic crown structure of the age.
The forest is not differentiated by heights in the sense of being multi-storied, instead it is low, open and flooded by light, with some larger trees growing up to heights of 3-6 m particularly within the narrow, gallery-like parts.
These are representatives of the genera Myodocarpus, Dacrydium, Agathis, Araucaria and Neocallitropsis.
Seedlings of Dacrydium x suprinii were not found, but perhaps they were not identified as such, as seedlings of D. araucarioides  and D. guillauminii resemble each other very much and therefore those of D. x suprinii certainly resemble both of the former.
Juvenile and adult needle features keep the median of the parents.
20 dacrydium x suprinii branchletAdult needles reach a length of 5-12 mm.
Needle age-groups are indistinct, so that it is difficult to determine their age, but they clearly are perennial.
The few seeds that could be found are located as 1-2 seeds inside the cone and reach 3,5 mm. 
Due to the very few samples this statement regarding the seeds claims no general validity.

Dacrydium x suprinii
is growing at the same altitude as D. guillauminii.
The age of the hybrid is analogously rated as with D. guillauminii  being at least 250 years old (Statement by B. SUPRIN, Nouméa).

pfNachObenDacrydium x suprinii: Branchlet

17 dacrydium x suprinii seeds unripe 
pfNachOben Dacrydium x suprinii
Seeds unripe

   11 dacrydium x supriniii young tree
Dacrydium x suprinii
Young Tree

12 dacrydium x suprinii branchlets
pfNachOben Dacrydium x suprinii

13 dacrydium x suprinii old tree
pfNachOben Dacrydium x suprinii
Old Tree

15 dacrydium comparison 250x167
pfNachOben Contrasting Dacrydium araucarioides, Dacrydium x suprinii and
Dacrydium guillauminii
(click to zoom into new window)

19 dacrydium x suprinii seeds ripe 400
pfNachOben Dacrydium x suprinii
Seeds ripe

D 5  Descriptive botany of plots

Sample plot No 1
Vegetation inventory No 1, Plaine des Lacs.
Location: New Caledonia, Plaine des Lacs, Grand Lac, western shore
Date:       December 29. 2005
Inventory site: 10 x 10 m
Habitat:          The lake shore at the most western side of the Grand Lac, a plane sloped, 3 m broad beach without any vegetation; adjacent a belt of vegetation, 15 up to 25 m broad and plane sloped.
Adjacent to that open vegetation is located at higher, hilly and dryer ground.
Soil: Coarse texture; at small patches: A layer of up to 2 cm thick serpentine with low humus accumulation.
More than 50% of the area are covered with bare ultra- alkaline rocks shaped like small, flat plateaus.
Inventory site: It is located within the above mentioned, plane sloped belt of vegetation adjacent to the 3 m broad beach without vegetation.
At the western border of the inventory site, the level of a ground streak of about 1-2 m is about 1 m higher.
Only there, one specimen each of  Dacrydium araucarioides and Neocallitropsis pancheri could be found reaching a height of 3 m.
The whole vegetation of the remaining area, including Dacrydium x suprinii, only reaches heights of 1 m, trending to grow even lower towards the lake side.
The high proportion of Retrophyllum minor is obvious.
At this site as well as at the whole area of the Plaine des Lacs the proportion of herbaceous plants is remarkably low.



21 dacrydium x sample plot no 1
Dacrydium x suprinii
Sample plot No 1

22 dacrydium x sample plot no 1 survey 400
pfNachOben Dacrydium x suprinii
Sample plot No 1

23 dacrydium x sample plot no 1 survey tab 400
pfNachOben Dacrydium x suprinii
Sample plot No 1

24 dacrydium x sample plot no 1 survey cross-section 400
pfNachOben Dacrydium x suprinii
Sample plot No 1
Cross section

Sample plot No 2
Vegetation inventory at the Rivière des Lacs.
Location:         New Caledonia, Plaine des Lacs, Rivière des Lacs, southern shore
Date:        December 29. 2005
Inventory site: 10 x 10 m
Habitat:         Southern bank of the Rivière des Lacs - Chutes de la Madeleine.
A stepped and precipitous bank with vegetation growing as far as the edge and 2 m beyond into the running water.
The dense gallery forest, well supplied with water, grows about 5 m wide and is flooded up to levels of 5 m at irregular intervals.
Soil: 30% of the area are covered with bare ultra-alkaline rocks.
The remaining area is characterized by serpentines of different thickness ranging from 0 to 30 cm.
The humus layers of the area reach different thickness ranging from 0 to 10 cm, probably due to the step-like appearance of the terrain.
Inventory site:     It is located within the stepped and precipitous bank adjacent to the river bank.
At this site the author found the first hybrid in January 1994.
It is growing merely about 4 m off the edge between D. guillauminii and Retrophyllum minor towards the valley side and D. araucarioides towards the mountain side, only 1-2 m away from this species.
Its height reaches 3–4 m.
All known specimen of Dacrydium x suprinii are sprouting at sites directly adjacent to the water, but not always within.
In the area of gallery forest, Retrophyllum minor and Dacrydium guillauminii are growing densely close and as far as 2 m within the running water, so that the distance between the single plants often amounts to merely 30 – 50 cm.
The forest is not differentiated by heights in the sense of being multi-storied.
In the low lit up wood, especially within the narrow, gallery-like part, some larger trees are growing up to heights of 3-6 m.
These belong to the genera Myodocarpus, Dacrydium, Grevillea, Neocallitropsis and Retrophyllum.
Just here, Dacrydium guillauminii and Retrophyllum minor reach heights of 4 m.
The age of D. guillauminii is estimated to be 300 – 400 years (Statement by B. SUPRIN, Nouméa).
The trunks of the two above mentioned species are thickened, partly up to 1,5 m above water level.
This feature is more pronounced in Retrophyllum minor.


 25 dacrydium x sample plot no 2
pfNachOben Dacrydium x suprinii
Sample plot No 2

27 dacrydium x sample plot no 2 survey 400
pfNachOben Dacrydium x suprinii
Sample plot No 2

28 dacrydium x sample plot no 2 survey tab 400
pfNachOben Dacrydium x suprinii
Sample plot No 2

29 dacrydium x sample plot no 2 survey cross-section 400pfNachOben Dacrydium x suprinii
Sample plot No 2
Cross section

Sample plot No 3
Vegetation inventory at the Rivière des Lacs.
Location         New Caledonia, Rivière des Lacs, western shore
Date:          December 29. 2005
Inventory site: 10 x 10 m
Habitat: The inventory site is a narrow, step-shaped and precipitous streak of terrain along the river, about 3-7 m broad and bordering at a rocky terrace  2-4 m high.
The recorded group of plants extends to about 75 m length.
Presumedly, previous fires have repeatedly destroyed the vegetation on and above the bordering terrace, for it differs strongly in composition and age from that at the inventory site. 
A more precise inventory of the vegetation was forestalled, due to the difficult terrain which is terraced with steep slopes.
The following species are dominating, but a smaller proportion of species, smaller than 1 m and forming the understory vegetation, remains unrecorded.
It may be stressed that in spite of all biotic or abiotic dangers at this relatively small site at least eight species of conifers have survived to an age of more than 300 years.
Adding the Auraucaria muelleri growing at the other side of the river, amazingly nine conifer species could be found within an area of about 300 m2.
These are Neocallitropsis pancheri topping heights of 5 m, Dacrydium guillauminii (4 m), Retrophyllum minor (5 m), Dacrydium araucarioides (5 m), Podocarpus novaecaledoniae (1 m), Dacrydium x suprinii (3 m), Araucaria bernieri (6 m), Agathis ovata (5 m) and Araucaria muelleri (1 m).
This multi-storied old vegetation is mingled with Balanops pancheri, Myodocarpus fraxinifolius, Lepidosperma perteres, Dracophyllum verticillatum and others.
Above the rocky terrace a lot of Gymnostoma deplancheanum and a few Dacrydium araucarioidesPodocarpus novaecaledoniae and others can be found.
Near and within the running water grows the endemic fern Blechnum francii.





30 dacrydium x sample plot no 3
pfNachOben Dacrydium x suprinii
Sample plot No 3

31 dacrydium x sample plot no 3 survey 400
pfNachOben Dacrydium x suprinii
Sample plot No 3

32 dacrydium x sample plot no 3 survey tab 400
pfNachOben Dacrydium x suprinii
Sample plot No 3

33 dacrydium x sample plot no 3 survey cross-section 400
pfNachOben Dacrydium x suprinii
Sample plot No 3
Cross section

34 dacrydium x suprinii and dacr guill
pfNachOben Old Trees of Dacrydium x suprinii (foreground)
and Dacrydium guillauminii (background)

35 dacrydium x suprinii trunk
pfNachOben Dacrydium x suprinii
Trunk of the old tree
  36 dacrydium x suprinii and dacr guill
pfNachOben Dacrydium x suprinii
Surrounded from Dacrydium guillauminii

III. Etymology

Honouring the appreciator, friend and conservationist of nature BERNARD SUPRIN, Nouméa, New Caledonia, the natural hybrid of Dacrydium araucarioides and Dacrydium guillauminii found in January 1994 is named “Dacrydium x suprinii”.    

IV. Conservation status

Due to its small extent of occurrence at only nine small or micro-scale habitats, Dacrydium guillauminii is a species which is categorized as critically endangered (highest protection category) according to the “IUCN Red Data Book categories”.   Therefore, existing at even less locations, the species Dacrydium x suprinii should be classified in the same way.

V. Relationships

According to D.J. DE LAUBENFELS and C.J. QUINN there are only two species of Dacrydium within the area Plaine des Lacs, D. araucarioides and D. guillauminii, the latter additionally limited to a few sites there.
The surrounding area, i.e. the area of the Plaine des Lacs and the Rivière des Lacs, hosts the following species of conifers: Neocallitropsis pancheri, Agathis ovata, Retrophyllum minor, Dacrydium guillauminii, Dacrydium araucarioides, Podocarpus novaecaledoniae, Araucaria bernieri and Araucaria muelleri.
The broader environment is characterized by the genera Dacrycarpus and Callitris additionally to the above-mentioned species.

The two other Dacrydium species of New-Caledonia, Dacrydium balansae and Dacrydium lycopodioides, are only domiciled northwards at the “Rivière bleue” area.

  Imaginable is a hybrid of the genera Podocarpus and Dacrydium, because both belong to the Podocarpaceae, but that is foreclosed by local actualities of the situation.
Only in theory imaginable is a hybrid between Neocallitropsis (Cupressaceae) existing on-site and Dacrydium (Podocarpaceae).
Meanwhile this theoretical question has been claryfied by means of DNA analysis.

VI. Discussion

Questions are raising regarding the recently discovered conifer and its biology.   Therefore, further research is required concerning phenology, fertility, age, phylogeny and others over a prolonged period of time.

VII. Acknowledgements

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Mr. BERNARD SUPRIN, Nouméa, New Caledonia. This study would have been impossible without his assistance during the three journeys in New Caledonia.   Prof. Dr. STUETZEL and Mr. KNOPF, Ruhr-University, Bochum, I wish to thank for theoretical and practical support.
Additionally, I would like to express my gratitude to Dr. SEEHANN, Reinbek, for his patience and assistance regarding various questions and in the final stages of manuscript preparation.

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