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Products > Podocarpus totara
Podocarpus totara - Totara

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Podocarpaceae (Podocarps)
Origin: New Zealand (Australasia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Insignificant
Bloomtime: Not Significant
Height: 20-30 feet
Width: 20-30 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
Podocarpus totara (Totara) - Evergreen tree that grows to 100 feet in its native New Zealand, but in most gardens it grows 25-30 feet tall. It is a spreading tree with that can live for many centuries. With age the thick deeply furrowed trunk becomes massive with the attractive bark peeling off in flakes. The gray-green leaves have a leathery texture and pointed ends but are not sharp to the touch. Plant in sun and water regularly. Hardy to at least 15 degrees F, it has been planted in the UK as far north as Inverewe, Scotland. This tree grows naturally in lowland, montane and lower subalpine forests below 2,000 feet throughout the North Island of New Zealand and in the northeastern area of the South Island where the hard straight-grained wood that is very resistant to rot has been used for many purposes including fence posts, building supports and railroad ties and has long been used by the Maori people for wood carvings. We have several beautiful specimens of this species in Santa Barbara and there is an attractive group of them near the rose garden at the Huntington Gardens. The name for the genus is derived from Greek words 'podo' meaning "foot" or "footed" and 'karpos' which means "fruit" in reference to the fleshy stalk or receptacle that holds the seed. This is lacking on some plants previously included in this genus and these plants have been transferred to the new genus Afrocarpus.  The information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens that we have observed it in. We also will incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that might aid others in growing Podocarpus totara.