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.

Podocarpus elatus R.Br. ex Mirb.

Ornamental, small, occasionally tall, dioecious tree with fibrous bark and bright green lance-shaped leaves, to 15cm long.  The seeds are borne on a blue-black, edible, fleshy receptacle, hence the common name.  [Hilliers’, FNSW, Beadle].

Horticultural & Botanical History

Podocarpus elatus is sometimes mistaken for Podocarpus neriifolius D.Don, ‘Oleander podocarp’, ‘Thikmin’, distributed from south east Asia to the western Pacific.  This is a mistake probably made by Macarthur.  ‘This tree has an elongated trunk, rarely cylindrical ; wood free from knots, soft, close, easily worked, good for joiners’ and cabinet-work; some trees afford planks of great beauty.  ([William] Macarthur.)  Fine specimens of this timber have a peculiar mottled appearance not easily described, and often of surpassing beauty.  The wood is tough, the fibre being much interlocked, and rather liable to very fine shakes.  It is silky and fine in the grain, lasting, and not readily attacked by white ants or Teredo.

Through inadvertence, this timber is erroneously described in the N.S.W. Catalogue of the 1862 Exhibition as belonging to P. spinulosus. It may be mentioned that P. spinulosus is never more than a small shrub.  A slab in the Technological Museum, which has been seasoned over twenty-five years (having been exhibited at the London International Exhibition of 1862), has a weight which corresponds to 451b. 11oz. per cubic foot.  Diameter, 24 to 36in.; height, 50 to l00ft.’  [The Useful Native Plants of Australia. Maiden. p.589/1889].  It is interesting to note that Macarthur mistook this tree for P. spinulosus in preparing for the London Exhibition, for which he was an Australian Commisioner.

History at Camden Park

Listed under the name Podocarpus neriifolius in the 1843 and 1845 catalogues.  Podocarpus australis replaces it in the 1850 edition and it is possible that this is the same plant.  But see the entry for Podocarpus australis Hort.  There are several large specimens in the gardens.  Probably collected by Macarthur on one of his botanising trips in the Illawarra.


Published Aug 09, 2009 - 01:59 PM | Last updated Jul 29, 2010 - 05:02 PM

Family Podocarpaceae
Region of origin

South east Australia, including the Illawarra

  • Nageia elata (Endl.) F.Muell.
  • Podocarpus ensifolia R.Br. ex Gord.
  • Podocarpus acicularis Van Houtte ex Gord.
  • Podocarpus falcata A.Cunn.
Common Name

Plum pine, Illawarra plum, Brown pine

Name in the Camden Park Record

Podocarpus neriifolius – Ilawarra pine

Confidence level high