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 cupressoides D.Don

Athrotaxus is a genus of two species of Tasmanian conifers although a number of hybrids were given specific status in the early literature.  Athrotaxis cupressoides D.Don is a small erect tree with small, dark-green, scale-like leaves pressed close to the stems.  To 10m.  [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 data on the introduction of Athrotaxis cupressoides. 

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.


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 selaginoides D.Don and Athrotaxis x laxifolia Hook.

Published Jan 24, 2009 - 04:26 PM | Last updated Jul 16, 2010 - 04:46 PM

Family Cupressaceae
Region of origin

Western Tasmania

  • Cunninghamia cupressoides (D.Don) Siebold & Zucc. 

Common Name

Pencil pine

Name in the Camden Park Record

2 x Athrotaxis sp. 

Confidence level medium