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Large tree to 20 m. Trunk straight, 0.6–1.5 m dbh, with greyish bark. Leaves coriaceous, dark green, 4–12(–16) 1–1.5(–1.9) cm, lanceolate but sometimes falcate, apex acuminate, base shortly attenuate to short petiole, midrib prominent on upper surface near base, but not so towards apex, margins subrevolute. Male strobili sessile, axillary on the previous year’s growth, solitary or in pairs, 3–5 0.4 cm. Female strobili borne on peduncles 4–12 mm long, receptacle fleshy, red becoming brown, 4–12 mm, seed 8–15 × 12–13 mm. Lundell 1937, Buchholz & Gray 1948, Standley & Steyermark 1952. Distribution EL SALVADOR (?); GUATEMALA; MEXICO: Chiapas, Guerrero, Jalisco, Oaxaca, Puebla, San Luis Potosí, Tamaulipas, Veracruz. Habitat Mixed pine-hardwood-podocarpus forests on moist slopes, between (600–)1000 and 2600(–3500) m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 8–9. Conservation status Near Threatened. Illustration NT14, NT644. Cross-reference K260. Taxonomic note Silba (1990) recognised three varieties of this species: var. matudae with short, broad, somewhat falcate leaves, from Chiapas and into El Salvador and Guatemala; var. reichei with longer leaves, from Puebla, Veracruz and Tamaulipas; and var. jaliscanus de Laub. & Silba, from Jalisco. These varieties are not recognised by Farjon (2001), however, or by other authorities (P. Thomas, pers. comm. 2007).
Plants are cultivated under the name Podocarpus reichei in California and Oregon, and young trees at Tregrehan are flourishing and really look as if they want to succeed, forming exceptionally attractive specimens in damp ground in the valley bottom, measuring up to 4 m tall in 2006 (Johnson 2007). These trees are now fruiting, despite having been planted within the past 10 years. They were grown from seed collected in Mexico and distributed by R. Nicholson, then of the New York Botanical Garden (T. Hudson, pers. comm. 2005). The hardiness of the species elsewhere is as yet untested but it deserves to be attempted in sheltered, moist locations. The long leaves give it a very elegant appearance.