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Totara (Podocarpus totara)

P. hallii.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Podocarpus totara

Wood – straight grained, reddish, very durable lasting a long time in water, but it can be brittle. Used for construction work and cabinet making[1, 11, 46, 61, 128].

  • Medicinal Use

    None known

  • Edible Use

    Fruit – raw or cooked[2, 105, 153, 183]. Sweet and juicy but there is a hint of turpentine in its flavour, especially if it is not fully ripe[173]. The fruit is about 6mm in diameter[200].

  • Cautionary Notes

    Superficially similar to Taxus species, but this plant is definitely not poisonous[200].

Cultivation & Habitat

The seed can be sown at any time of the year in a sandy soil in a warm greenhouse, though it is probably best sown as soon as it is ripe[1]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe terminal shoots, 5 – 10cm long, July/August in a frame[78].
Prefers a rich moist non-alkaline soil[167]. This species is only hardy in the milder areas of Britain. Plants have succeeded in Suffolk and Argyll as well as in southern and western Britain but it is only in Cornwall and Ireland that plants achieve the stature of trees[81, 185]. A tree at Trebah gardens in Cornwall was 16 metres tall in 1959[185]. Plants are fairly slow growing with an average increase in height around 20cm a year in Cornwall[185]. Cultivated as a timber tree in New Zealand[1]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
New Zealand.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.