Conifer Trees: Podocarpus
This is a large genus of evergreen trees and shrubs, but coming as they do from the warm temperate and tropical regions of the Southern Hemisphere, very few species are hardy even in the mildest parts of Great Britain. They are usually seen here as dwarf or slow growing shrubs, all having foliage somewhat similar to the Yews.
Podocarpus acutifolius originates from New Zealand and is reasonably hardy, making a dense medium sized bush with long pointed bronze-green leaves.
Podocarpus alpinus, native to S.E. Australia and Tasmania makes a sprawling prostrate carpet. To avoid the plant looking straggly the long shoots should be shortened to encourage density. The leaves are small and dark green.
Podocarpus nivalis, is in my opinion one of the most useful species of Podocarpus for temperate climates, making an attractive plant. It is one of the hardiest and most adaptable being quite tolerant of lime. It is very compact with small dark green leaves, although different forms in cultivation may differ somewhat in both habit and rate of growth.
A native of New Zealand where it is found in mountain regions it is known as the “Alpine Totara”.