Dacrydium nidulum / Chawènum

Dacrydium nidulum, first described by David de Laubenfels in 1969 is commonly known as chawènum, kasuari, kwennum, Arfak in the Maibrat language of New Guinea; tjikwal in the Hattam language; jammari, in the Wandammen language; samiampi, in the Japen language, (Roberbai dialect). At first de Laubenfels described Dacrydium nidulum var. araucarioides but he subsequently assigned the variety to a new species, D. cornwalliana.


Description. Dacrydium nidulum is an evergreen coniferous tree in the Podocarpaceae family, generally growing 30 to 60 feet (10 to 30 m) tall, with an 7 to 20 inch (18-50) cm diameter, with numerous branchlets forming a dense crown. Juvenile leaves up to one inch 2 cm long, slightly curved forward, acute, and triangular in cross section. Adult leaves tend not to be crowded (leaf tips distant from adjacent leaves), nearly straight to distinctly curved so that the apex is parallel with the shoot, and are abruptly acute to blunt, often spiny, typically 0.13 inch (2-3.5 mm) long , triangular in cross section, and strongly keeled on the back. Fertile structures occur on the terminals but pollen cones may also be lateral. Pollen cones are 0.3 to 0.7 inch (8-18 mm long). Seed-bearing structures are subtended by leaves distinctly shorter than normal foliage leaves, as short as 0.06 inch (1.5 mm); cone bracts increasing towards the apex where one or two may be fertile, up to 0.16 inch (4 mm) long and completely surrounding the epimatium but surpassed by the apex of the mature seed which is 0.15 inch (3.5 - 4) mm long and glossy brown.

natural range of <em>Dacrydium nidulum </em>
natural range of Dacrydium nidulum

Distribution. This species is native to western Polynesia (Fiji); throughout New Guinea (including Normanby & Japen Is.) to the Moluccas (Halmaheira); central and southeastern Celebes; and the Lesser Sunda Islands (Sumba). It occurs at elevations of sea level to 3,800 feet (0 to 1200 m) but mostly under 1,800 feet (600 m). Within its range, mean annual temperature is 70º F (21.1° C), with an average minimum in the coldest month of 60º F (16.1° C), and a mean annual precipitation of 110 inches (2,803 mm).

Common in the western parts of New Guinea, but elsewhere populations are mostly rather isolated. A canopy tree of primary and sometimes secondary rain-forest.