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Dacrydium leptophyllum

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Dacrydium leptophyllum was first described by (Wasscher) de Laub. ex Silba in 1984. Synonyms include  Podocarpus leptophylla  (Wasscher 1941); Dacrycarpus leptophylla  (Wasscher) Gaussen 1974.

The original description expressed uncertainty between Dacrydium and Podocarpus, section Dacrycarpus for this unique taxon, but unfortunately settled for the latter. The tiny leaves are typical for Dacrydium and the primary branches show no sign of the dimorphism which characterizes Dacrycarpus. 

Description. Dacrydium leptofphyllum is an evergreen coniferous tree in the Podocarpaceae  family. Leaves diverge widely from the stem but are bent sharply forward, parallel to the stem or even directed inward, lanceolate, pungent, 0.05 inch (1-1.5 mm) long,  strongly keeled on the dorsal side, flat or slightly concave on the axial side. Leaves on vigorous branches larger, up to 0.12 inch (3 mm). Nothing is yet known regarding fertile material.

Dacrydium_leptophyllum
natural range of Dacrydium leptophyllum. ©A.Farjon, 2013. Dacrydium leptophyllum, from the website, Threatened Conifers of The World (http://threatenedconifers.rbge.org.uk/taxa/details/866).

Distribution. This species is native only to western New Guinea, known only from the top of Mt Goliath (4°32′ S, 139°51′ E), at around 10,000 feet (3000-3600 m) elevation. The IUCN reports that this taxon is “vulnerable.” The population is estimated to number fewer than 1000 mature individuals and suffers from a very restricted area of occupancy (typically less than 60 square miles (20 km2) or number of locations (typically five or fewer) such that it is prone to the effects of human activities or stochastic events within a very short time period in an uncertain future, and is thus capable of becoming Critically Endangered or even Extinct in a very short time period

Attributed from: David J. de Laubenfels, ©1988. Coniferales. pp. 337-453 in Flora Malesiana, Series I, Vol. 10. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic.

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