Class Pinopsida, Family Podocarpaceae
The single conifer, Podocarpus polystachyus
(Phylum Pinophyta), found locally in mangroves is strictly speaking,
a coastal species, more often found in beaches or rocky shores. Indeed,
even in Singapore, one can find this more often in the latter at the
southern islands but this also grows very well in the back mangrove
zone which is twice-daily inundated by the tides! Conifers are plants
which produce seed but have no flowers, instead developing their reproductive
structures on cones or strobili (singular, strobilus).
of Southeast Asia to New Guinea. Locally at various southern islands
and Sungei Mandai Kechil. Trees 1-20 m tall; bark reddish brown, narrowly
fissured; leaf blades long and narrow in young plants, narrow and
long or oval (6-13 by 3-10 cm) in older plants; male plants produce
clusters of cream-coloured cones which shed whitish, powdery pollen;
female plants produce a highly modified cone consisting of a fleshy
receptacle and ovule (seed precursor); after fertilisation, the ovule
becomes the seed and the receptacle enlarges and becomes shiny red.
Sandy beaches, rocky coasts and mangroves.
Cones of a male tree
Cones of a female tree
The timber is commercially exploited (podo wood), the tree planted as an
ornamental on roadsides or parks or can be grown as bonsai. Endangered.