Belfast Botanic Gardens Tree Archive

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This series of short articles about trees in the Belfast Botanic Gardens is compiled by members of the Friends group and Gardens staff. We aim to build up to a comprehensive archive of trees in Belfast Botanic Gardens. Each article illustrates a tree growing in Belfast Botanic Gardens together with information from a range of sources. Where possible we will give the tree tag number - these are the small aluminium discs, usually fixed on the tree trunk, 2 to 3m above ground level.
Podocarpus salignus
Willow-leaf podocarp

Tag 441
54 deg 35.002N
5 deg 55.937W

The podocarps are southern Hemisphere conifers. They evolved in the super-continent of Gondwana which later broke up into South America, Africa, India, New Zealand and New Caladonias, each of which has podocarp species. There are over 100 species in the Podocarpus genus. Podocarpus salignus is a distinctive podocarp endemic to Chile where it grows in the Andes and coastal Cordillera. It is reasonably frost-tolerant and can be seen in major parks and gardens in the UK including as far north as Edinburgh Botanic Garden. It is threatened in the wild because of habitat loss. The plum-shaped fruit are only produced where both male and female plants are present. The male plants produce long catkins, the female plants produce cones each with one or two seeds. The scale that holds the seed becomes fleshy and red, remoniscent of the red fleshy aril of the Northern Hemisphere yews (a good example of parellel evolution). We don't know yet whether the Belfast Botanic Gardens tree is male or female - when it flowers we may try to find it a mate!

Podocarpus salignus in Belfast Botanic Gardens

Podocarpus salignus leaves

Young Podocarpus salignus in Belfast Botanic Gardens Leaves of Podocarpus salignus
Podocarpus salignus female Podocarpus salignus male
Female Podocarpus salignus cone. -see reference below Catkins on male Podocarpus salignus. - see reference below

reference: M.F.Gardner, 2013. Podocarpus salignus, from the website, Threatened Conifers of The World (http://threatenedconifers.rbge.org.uk/taxa/details/762).

Photos taken in Belfast Botanic Gardens in 2009. Copyright: Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens.

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