Dacrydium cupressinum


Dacrydium: tear drop
cupressinum: cypress

Common Name(s)

rimu, red pine

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Not Threatened

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Dacrydium cupressinum Lamb.



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class

Gymnosperm Trees & Shrubs


Thalamia cupressina Spreng


Endemic. North, South and Stewart Islands from North Cape south. Uncommon in large parts of the eastern South Island. Facultatively extinct on Banks Peninsula, where one natural tree is all that remains. Rimu is the type of the genus Dacrydium.


Lowland to montane forest - occasionally ascending to subalpine scrub.


Dioecious conifer 35(-60) m tall. Adult trees with trunk bare of branches for 3/4 of length. Trunk stout, 1.5-2 m diam., bark dark brown, falling off in large thick flakes. Wood dark red. Branches in juveniles numerous, slender, branchlets pendulous. Adult branches few, spreading, branchlets slender, pendulous. Leaves dark green, bronze-green, red-green or orange, imbricate, those of juveniles 4-7(-10) mm., 0.5-1 mm wide, keeled, acute, linear-subulate, subfalcate, decurrent; those of subadults ascending, incurved 4-6 mm., rhomboid; of adults similar but appressed, 2-3 mm., rigid, subacute, trigonous. Male and Female "cones" first appear on subadults. Male cones (strobili) solitary or paired, terminal 5-10 mm., oblong. Pollen yellow. Ovules solitary, terminal on up-curved branchlets. Receptacle a fleshy red or deep-orange cup 1-2 mm long. Seed oblong or elliptic-oblong, compressed in section, 3-3.8(-4) mm long, semi-glossy, dark-brown.

Similar Taxa

A very distinctive species which could not be confused with any other indigenous conifer. The very young juveniles have a superficial similarly to seedlings of silver pine (Manoao colensoi) but differ by their much finer, more numerous, dull rather than glossy red-green leaves.


December - March

Flower Colours

No Flowers


Fruits take a year or more to mature and co-occur with young female cones, they are most frequently seen between February and May.

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed. Can be grown from hard-wood cuttings but rather slow to strike.


Not Threatened, although as a forest-type it has been greatly reduced through widespread logging. Very few intact examples of rimu-dominated forest remain in the North Island.

Chromosome No.

2n = 20

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Life Cycle and Dispersal

Arillate seeds are dispersed by frugivory (Thorsen et al., 2009).

Where To Buy

Commonly cultivated and frequently sold by most commercial nurseries and outlets. A very popular garden tree.


The first indigenous beer was brewed using the young tips of rimu (as spruce beer) by Captain Cook at Dusky Sound in 1773 (Kirk 1889). 

Fact Sheet Citation

Please cite as:  de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of Access): Dacrydium cupressinum a Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. http://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora_details.aspx?ID=2100   (Date website was queried)


Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 3 February 2006. Description adapted from Allan (1961), Webb & Simpson (2001), fresh material and herbarium specimens.

References and further reading

Allan, H.H. 1961: Flora of New Zealand. Wellington, Government Printer.

Gardner, R. 2001. Notes towards an excursion Flora. Rimu and kahikatea (Podocarpaceae). Auckland Botanical Society Journal, 56: 74-75  

Kirk, T. 1889: The Forest Flora of New Zealand. Wellington, Government Printer.

Thorsen, M. J.; Dickinson, K. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 11: 285-309

Webb, C.J.; Simpson, M.J.A. 2001: Seeds of New Zealand Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons. Christchurch, Manuka Press.

This page last updated on 13 Sep 2018