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Home \ Conifers \ Retrophyllum

Retrophyllum Genus

5 Species

Retrophyllum is a genus of coniferous gymnosperms in the family Podocarpaceae.  It has a disjunct distribution in the Southern Hemisphere. Four or five species are recognized.

Retrophyllum shoots have a distinctive morphology in which the leaves are in opposite pairs, and twisted in such a way that the abaxial surface of one leaf is up, and in the other it is down. This feature, added to a distinctive epidermal morphology means that well-preserved specimens can be easily identified in the fossil record. The fossil record shows that Retophyllum was present in the Cenozoic of Australia and New Zealand but is now extinct in both places.

In a 2009 book on conifers, Retrophyllum piresii was treated as conspecific with Retrophyllum rospigliosii. The author stated “One specimen from low elevations in Brazil was separated as a distinct species, but it falls well within the range of variation of the species as a whole and is geographically close to some locations in Peru.”

Retrophyllum_rospigliosii