Podocarpaceae Research


Acmopyle pancheri The Podocarpaceae is one of the two principal Southern Hemisphere conifer families (the other is the Araucariaceae). It contains 19 extant genera and nearly 200 species. Species occur in all the Southern Hemisphere continents; some penetrate northwards in the Caribbean Islands, NE Africa, SE Asia and Japan. Many species are more or less narrowly endemic; 58 are listed in the 2014 IUCN Red List. Most species are dispersed by vertebrates, especially birds; many of the dispersal agents are also threatened. One species, Parasitaxus usta, is the world's only ‘parasitic' gymnosperm. Its host is another member of Podocarpaceae, Falcatifolium taxoides; both grow only on New Caledonia.

Current research focuses on revising the genus Podocarpus which has over 100 species. To date this has involved

  • compilation of an authoritative catalogue of all taxa, living and fossil
  • publication of a new species from the Solomon Islands (Podocarpus orarius)
  • publication of an historical review of the genus
  • publication of revisions of the Caribbean species and those from the Central American and Northern Mexico bioregions.

Monographic publications are available from the Edinburgh Journal of Botany.

Research on Podocarpaceae at RBGE is led by Dr Robert Mill.

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