A new laxifolia

The Athrotaxis laxofolia is a slow-growing conifer endemic to Tasmania and extraordinarily rare. It’s thought to be a naturally-occuring, sterile hybrid between two other Tasmanian alpine endemics, the King Billy Pine (Athrotaxis selaginoides) and the Pencil Pine (Athrotaxis cupressoides). Having done a bit of research (ie. talked to some guides and spent 20mins on Google) it would seem no one’s really sure of anything with the species, except that there’s not many of them and they’re only found where there’s nearby populations of the other two…

Anyway, there’s three that we know about visible from the Overland Track, and on my last trip I think I found a fourth – this example a very young sapling down on the Douglas Creek near Old Pelion Hut.

The name ‘laxifolia’ refers to the spacing of the leaves and as you can see they sit somewhere between the dense Pencil Pine and broader King Billys.

Athrotaxis laxifolia

 

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