Pectinopitys ferruginea


ferruginea: rust coloured

Common Name(s)

Miro, brown 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


Pectinopitys ferruginea (G.Benn. ex D.Don in Lamb.) C.N.Page



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


Podocarpus ferruginea D.Don, Stachypitys ferruginea (D.Don) Bobrov et Melikyan nom. illegit., Stachycarpus ferruginea (D.Don) Tieghem, Prumnopitys ferruginea (D.Don) Laubenf.


Endemic. North, South and Stewart Islands.


Common tree of lowland to montane forest.


Stout tree up to 25 m tall. Trunk 1-1.5 m diam., in adults clear of branches for 2/3 of length. Bark thick, grey. Falling in thick, sinuous flakes. Leaves feathery, dark green, green to bronze-green, distichous, erect, narrow-linear, acute, falcate to subfalcate, acute to subacute, mid vein distinct, margins recurved, juveniles up to 30 mm long, those of adults 15-25 x 2-3 mm. Male cones (strobili) solitary, axillary, 5-15 mm long. Ovules solitary (rarely paired), on short branchlets 10 or less mm. long. Fruit a broadly oblong to sub--spherical red, pink-red fleshy drupe up to 20 mm long - fleshy, oily, smelling and tasting strongly of terpenes. Stone elliptic to broadly elliptic 11-17 mm long, dark brown to black-brown.

Similar Taxa

The bright green to bronze-green, feathery foliage, and pink-red, to red plum-like drupes are quite unlike any other New Zealand conifer. However young miro plants might be confused with yew (Taxus baccatus), but can be distinguished by their lack of petioles.


June - August - October

Flower Colours

No Flowers


Fruits take 12-18 months to mature. Ripe fruits are mainly found from November - April

Propagation Technique

Easily grown from fresh seed. Seed may take up to 2 years to germinate. 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 miro-dominated forest remain in the country.

Chromosome No.

2n = 36

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Cultural Use/Importance

The large, oily, red fruits are an important part of the diet of the New Zealand Wood Pigeon/Kereru/Kukupa (Hemiphaga novaezelandiae).

Taxonomic Notes

Stachypitys proposed by Bobrov & Melikyan (2000) is regarded as illegitimate because it is a parahomonym of Stachyopitys a fossil conifer genus. More recently Page (2019) created the genus Pectinopitys to accommodate New Zealand miro, allied species in Eastern Australia (one), New Caledonia (one), and three South American species. It has long been recognised that miro was an 'ill fit' in Prumnopitys, which was why Bobrov & Melikayn (2000) made an attempt to move it out of that genus, so this more recent segregation should come as no surprise.

Fact Sheet Citation

Please cite as:  de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of Access): Prumnopitys ferruginea Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. http://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora_details.aspx?ID=794  (Date website was queried)





Prepared by P.J. de Lange for NZPCN, 3 February 2006. Description based on Allan (1961)

References and further reading

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

Bobrov, A.V.F.Ch.; Melikyan, A.P. 2000: Morphology of female reproductive structures and an attempt of the construction of phyogenetic system of orders Podocarpales, Cephalotaxales and Taxales. Botanicheskii Zhurnal (Moscow & Lenningrad) 85(7):50–68.

Page, C.N. 2019: New and maintained genera in the taxonomic alliance of Prumnopitys s.l (Podocarpaceae), and circumscription of a new genus: Pectinopitys. New Zealand Journal of Botany 57(1): 137-153.

This page last updated on 8 Jul 2019