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.