Spontaneous hybrids intermediate between the parents. This cross is most frequently represented in gardens by material grown as Podocarpus totara ‘Aureus’. Webby, Markham & Molloy (1987) demonstrated that two of the most widely grown ‘Podocarpus totara’ cultivars, ‘Aureus’ and ‘Pendulus’, were in fact hybrids. ‘Aureus’ is discussed below; for ‘Pendulus’ see under P. acutifolius × nivalis.
Synonyms / alternative names
Podocarpus totara 'Aurea'
Podocarpus totara 'Aureus'
Ultimately a medium-sized tree, Podocarpus ‘Aureus’ bears golden-greenish-yellow leaves, the colouration being strongest in winter (in Britain, but better in warmer climates generally). A male clone, it is rather shy and rarely produces pollen cones. Its origins are obscure but it seems to have arisen in New Zealand where it was cultivated at least as long ago as 1955; Larry Hatch suggests it was introduced by the New Zealand firm Duncan & Davies c. 1945 (Hatch 2021–2022).
Auders & Spicer (2012) suggest a potentially rapid rate of growth, up to 3 × 2 m in ten years, while the largest examples in the UK and Ireland are in the region of 10–11 m tall, in mild gardens including Caerhays, Rowallane and Castlewellan. An intriguing plant in Queen’s Park, Swindon (10 m in 2014) ‘began life in a hot-house which had to be dismantled in the late 1980s’ (Tree Register 2023). P. totara ‘Albany Gold’ is a better colour, but neither so vigorous nor as hardy, in the UK, at least (Auders & Spicer 2012) and it too may represent a hybrid rather than true P. totara.