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A usually dioecious evergreen tree 40 to 60 ft high, but in this country a shrub except in the south and west; branchlets green, terete, quite glabrous. Leaves persisting two years, falling the third, linear, often sickle-shaped, tapered at the base, pointed at the apex, 2 to 41⁄2 in. long, 1⁄8 to 3⁄16 in. wide, dark rather bluish green above, paler beneath, with numerous rows of minute stomata. Male flowers in a cluster of slender spikes 1 to 11⁄2 in. long. Fruits egg-shaped, 1⁄3 in. long, solitary or in pairs on a stalk 1⁄2 to 5⁄8 in. long and standing out at right angles from it.
Native of Chile, mainly in the region of Nothofagus obliqua forests, where it occurs here and there in open places but is nowhere a conspicuous feature of the vegetation. It was introduced around 1849, but all the present trees are of later date. It is by far the most elegant and distinct of all the podocarps that can be grown successfully in this country, and is hardy in a sheltered position as far east as western Kent, though it grows more luxuriantly in the Atlantic zone. The finest example in the British Isles grows at Ardnagashel in Co. Cork, Eire. It measures 64 × 9 ft (1966) and is rivalled by one at Bicton, Devon, measuring 62 × 31⁄2 ft (1966). These are single-stemmed, in contrast to the splendid tree by the house at Penjerrick, Cornwall, which branches at about 6 ft and makes a pyramidal mass of foliage about 45 ft high.
specimens: Bicton, Devon, 59 × 53⁄4 ft (1983); Penjerrick, Cornwall, 56 × 43⁄4 + 33⁄4 ft + other stems (1979).