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Tree Botanics

Miro Previous

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Other Names: (Podocarpus ferrugineus)

The Miro is a widespread species found throughout the length and breadth of New Zealand, North & South Islands.  It occurs in lowland and lower mountain forests up to an altitude of 900m. Member of the Podocarpaceae family, the tree can attain heights of up to 25m with up to a 1m trunk diameter.  Miro mature between 400 - 600 years presenting a round-headed tree with hard, straight-grained timbers.  The bark is a dark grey or grey-brown colouration, rough and lightly marked, similar to hammer-marks, falling off in thick flakes to reveal a purplish inner bark. The leaves are alternate, 2cm long X 2 - 3mm wide (similar to Yew) dark green on top and a yellowish-green on the underside (juveniles differ only in the fact that they have longer leaves) and are arranged along the branchlets in one single plane.  Miro flowers between September - October the male flowers appearing as solitary catkins, about 1.5 cm in length and are produced from the leaf axils (the angle between the upper side of a leaf or stem and the supporting stem or branch.), the female solitary (though occasionally paired), produced from the tip of a short curved scaly stalk. The plum-like fruits take more than 12 months to ripen, and are red with a pulpy outer layer complete with stone inside.  They ripen over winter to mature to a purplish colour with a waxy bloom in August - September.  These smell and taste of turpentine. Miro timber was commonly used for flooring, house building and general carpentry.