Snow Totara (Podocarpus Nivalis)


Podocarpus nivalis, the Mountain Totara or Snow Totara is an evergreen coniferous shrub endemic to New Zealand. It is found on the North Island south of Mt Hikurangi and to Mt Pirongia and on the South Island. It is found in montane and alpine areas, often confined to subalpine and alpine areas in the North Island. It is common in open tussock grassland, subalpine scrub and herb fields, at the base of active scree, amongst boulder falls and on cliff-faces and razorback ridges. It is sometimes found extending into Southern Beech forest (Nothofagus spp.) and down into valley heads. In natural settings it can be found up to 1.5 metres tall with a spread of 3 metres. In garden settings expect heights between 1 and 1.5 metres with a spread of up to 1.5 metres. It does well in full sun in well-drained, moist fertile slightly acidic soils. An excellent shrub for a rockery or small garden, it grows well in a tub garden or formed into bonsai. Despite its natural distribution Podocarpus nivalis is remarkably tolerant of drought and humidity. Superficially similar to the Australian Mountain Plum Pine.


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