D. longifolium grows mostly in the South Island but is found throughout New Zealand from sea level up to 1,200 metres (3,900 ft). Inaka occurs in open forests where it can grow as high as 12 metres and in sub-alpine areas it generally reaches 1–1.5 metres (3 ft 3 in–4 ft 11 in).
D. longifolium has thin branches that become marked with rings as old leaves die. The needle-like long leaves are 3–5 millimetres (0.12–0.20 in) wide and up to 25 centimetres (9.8 in) long with a pointed tip and are often softly coloured from green through to orange and brown.
Inaka is a long-lived plant and can survive for up to 220 years.
This species has the following varieties:
- D. longifolium var. longifolium
- D. longifolium var. septentrionale
- "Dracophyllum longifolium". www.nzflora.info. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
- Metcalf, Lawrie. "Dracophyllum longifolium". www.rnzih.org.nz. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
- Scheele, Sue; Sweetapple, Peter. "Neinei and Inanga". www.landcareresearch.co.nz. Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
- Eagle, Audrey (2008). Eagle's complete trees and shrubs of New Zealand volume two. Wellington: Te Papa Press. pp. 576–578. ISBN 9780909010089.
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