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Enjoy two minutes with one of our majestic native trees, Totara (Podocarpus totara). The oldest Totara in the country is 1400-1850 years old, and grows near the Pureora Forest. It is 39m tall, and to the first fork, the trunk is 10.36m.

Podocarpus totara is dioecious, growing fast to 4m within ten years to a maximum of 30m. It is a robust tree, ideal trimmed as hedging, or formed into shelter belts with stock-resistant foliage to the ground. Tolerant of seasonal drought, Totara is light-seeking and will grow a single leader until it reaches the canopy, and then spread. 

Totara is endemic throughout the country and found in lower sub-alpine and montane forest, but also regenerating on farmland from bird-dispersed seed. The fibrous dark brown bark is stringy, and 2cm long sharply pointed coriaceous leaves dissuade stock from browsing on it.

In spring, wind disperses pollen. The male produces yellowish cone-like catkins, and in October and November the female generates 3.5mm green-turning-bright-red fruit with a green seed connected to it. Between March and mid-May the seed matures and drops. Fruit matures over a year and all stages of reproduction may be simultaneously found on a single tree. 

Several cultivars include Podocarpus totara aureus, a spreading specimen with softer yellow-gold foliage. Aureus is dioecious and grows to 3m within ten years up to 10m, the foliage becoming more golden with sun exposure. This hardy cultivar is drought and frost tolerant and makes great hedging and an ideal topiary subject.

Podocarpus totara matapouri blue, another popular cultivar, is a beautiful spreading specimen with softer blue-green foliage. It grows steadily to 3m within ten years to a maximum of 10m. It is hardy, drought and frost tolerant, and dioecious. This cultivar makes beautiful hedging and topiary.

  $60 each         $110 each         $140 each         $220 each
  $450 each              POA               $130 each         $130 each  

Totara heartwood is the most naturally durable native timber in contact with the ground. It is borer-resistant, and will retain integrity indefinitely above ground. In salt water it retains integrity and is better equipped to fend off Teredo and shipworm than other native species.

  • The extraordinarily straight grain splits willingly and when dried, the reddish-brown heartwood offers excellent dimensional stability. Sapwood is pale brown.
  • Maori named Totara, Chief of the ‘company of superior and lordly trees’ 
  • Totara was sourced for Maori carvings and war canoes
  • Europeans used it for railway sleepers, floor piling, fence posts, and many other applications
  • Totara bark and wood contain diterpenes, including totarol, dimer podototarin, podocarpic acid, and tannins
  • Totarol is a strong antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and preservative Trees need to be 150+ to develop these compounds
  • The inner bark boiled with mānuka was used by Maori to reduce fever
  • An infusion of leaves sorted out stomach problems
  • Totara fruit is edible however it has a definite turpentine flavour
  • Collect seed from mid-March to May
  • Cool, damp stratification of seed for several weeks is recommended
  • Sow seed in spring
  • Can also be propagated from semi-hardwood cuttings taken in early to mid-April, and treated with semi-hardwood hormone 
  • Prefers full sun or partial shade and rich soil
For price and availability list
* All prices are exclusive of GST

102 Omaha Flats Road, Matakana

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Takana Native Tree Nursery
51 Sylvan Avenue
Auckland, Auckland -
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