Callitris macleayana (Cupressaceae)

Callitris mackleyana

One does not often think of Australia as a land of conifers, but when one beholds a conifer the likes of the Stringybark Cypress in their picturesque glory, one starts to wonder if Australia was once a land of conifers. A palaeobotanist would certainly agree. Afterall, there is good evidence in the pollen records from upland lakes going back over 40,000 years that suggests that conifers once dominated this landscape. The presence of the Stringybark Cypress adds a unique character to the rainforests of Far North Queensland and is probably the only native Cypress (Callitris sp.) that consistently grow in rainforest. It is also found in wet sclerophyll forest. Being a somewhat wet forest obligate, this species is also probably the grandest of the native cypress pines. Walking amongst a whole stand of mature Stringybark Cypress is a truly unforgettable experience.

The rainforest or wet forest habitat and stature sufficiently distinguishes this magnificent dendron from other Cypress Pines. In addition, the cones are also among the largest among the native cypresses, being up to around 3cm in diameter and opening only slightly.

Callitris mackleyana
Closeup of a twig with a cone

Callitris mackleyana


About David Tng

I am David Tng, a hedonistic botanizer who pursues plants with a fervour. I chase the opportunity to delve into various aspects of the study of plants. I have spent untold hours staring at mosses and allied plants, taking picture of pollen, culturing orchids in clean cabinets, counting tree rings, monitoring plant flowering times, etc. I am currently engrossed in the study of plant ecology (a grand excuse to see 'anything I can). Sometimes I think of myself as a shadow taxonomist, a sentimental ecologist, and a spiritual environmentalist - but at the very root of it all, a "plant whisperer"!
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