Notice

Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Athrotaxis x laxifolia Hook.

Athrotaxus is a genus of two species of Tasmanian conifers although a number of hybrids were given specific status in the early literature.  Athrotaxis x laxifolia Hook. is a hybrid, the parents being Athrotaxis selaginoides and Athrotaxis cupressoides.  Such hybrid individuals are widespread although not common in areas where the two parent species occur, and the name Athrotaxis laxifolia has been widely used for these.  [APNI].  Similar to Athrotaxis cupressoides but of laxer habit and usually somewhat larger.  [RHSD, Hortus, Hilliers', APNI]. 

Horticultural & Botanical History

Athrotaxis selaginoides [which see] was introduced to Britain c.1857 [Hilliers' ].  The data given here suggests an earlier date and it is probable that these two Arthrotaxis species, if correctly identified, were the first live plants of the genus to be sent to England.  I have no specific information on the European introduction of Athrotaxis x laxifolia. 

‘By the side of a murmuring rivulet which we now crossed, were growing some beautiful plants of Athrotaxis laxifolia with its graceful pyramidal form, and delicate branches covered with bright yellowish-green leaves, only long and spreading enough to give the branchlets a somewhat serrated appearance, as they waved in the breeze.  The Athrotaxis previously mentioned (A. selaginoides), with longer and more spreading, prickly leaves, is more prized in England than this species; but I think this is the more elegant of the two.  The third species (A. cupressoides) is a much more sombre tree, with smaller and blunter leaves closely appressed to the branchlets.  All the species are, I believe, peculiar to Tasmania.’  [Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania p.59/1870-72].

History at Camden Park

‘2 Athrotaxis Sp.’ were sent with a large consignment of native plants to Sir William Hooker on 11th February 1848 [MP A2933-1, p.165].  This is the only mention of these plants but it seems likely that Macarthur attempted to grow them himself. 

Notes

The plants Macarthur sent to Kew are probably one or both of the two recognized species from Tasmania or hybrids, although Microcachrys tetragona (Hook.) Hook.f., synonyms Athrotaxis tetragona Hook., Dacrydium tetragonum (Hook.) Parl., may also be added to these.  See also Athrotaxis cupressoides D.Don and Athrotaxis selaginoides D.Don.

Published Jan 24, 2009 - 04:32 PM | Last updated Jul 16, 2010 - 04:45 PM

Family Cupressaceae
Category
Region of origin

Western Tasmania

Synonyms
Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

2 x Athrotaxis sp. 

Confidence level

medium