Dacrydium balansae

Dacrydium balansae was first described by Brongniart et Grisebach in 1869 and is most closely related to Dacrydium nidulum. This species was named for Benedict Balansa (1825-1892), the explorer who first collected herbarium specimens for study.

Description. Dacrydium balansae is an evergreen coniferous tree growing 12 to 25 feet (4 - 12 m), exceptionally to 60 feet (20 m) tall. Branches grow in many small divergent shoots. Bark showing hard and smooth cuticles with various small lenticels, becoming gray with age, fibrous inside, shedding in thick brown plates. Juvenile leaves are fine and needle-like, up to one-half inch (13 mm) long, gradually changing into adult leaves. Adult leaves are thick, tapering off strongly from a large base, divergent and slightly incurved ending in a blunt apex, 0.1 to 0.18 inch (3 - 4.5 mm) long, having a strong dorsal carina, sharp margins, often slightly glaucous. Pollen cones are cylindrical, 0.3 to 0.6 by 0.08 inch (8 - 15 x 2 mm) in size, occurring on terminals, often on short branches, or lateral, or both. Seed cone are also terminal, on long or short branches with foliage just below the cone that is 0.8 inch (20 mm) long; often twisted below the fertile part.

Distribution. This species is native only to the island of New Caledonia, at elevations from sea level to 3,200 feet (0 - 1000 m). It occurs throughout the main island in the drier parts of the forests, growing on serpentine soils. Mean climate includes a minimum yearly temperature range of 57 to 60° F (14 - 20° C) and annual rainfall of 60 inches (1600 mm).

Attribution from: Chris Earle, The Gymnsperm Database ©2012

Dacrydium balansae at UCUC Arboretum in Santa Cruz, CA, USA.
Photo by j. Malone via Wikipedia
Dacrydium balansae growing in nature in New Caledonia.
Photo by Chad Husby