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Libocedrus plumosa, Kawaka, New Zealand
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Cupressaceae
Subfamily: Callitroideae
Genus: Libocedrus
Type species
Libocedrus doniana
Natural range of Libocedrus

Stegocedrus Doweld

Libocedrus is a genus of five species of coniferous trees in the cypress family Cupressaceae, native to New Zealand and New Caledonia.[1] The genus is closely related to the South American genera Pilgerodendron and Austrocedrus, and the New Guinean genus Papuacedrus, both of which are included within Libocedrus by some botanists. These genera are rather similar to the Northern Hemisphere genera Calocedrus and Thuja: in earlier days, what is now Calocedrus was sometimes included in Libocedrus. They are much less closely related, as recently confirmed (Gadek et al. 2000). The generic name means "teardrop cedar", apparently referring to drops of resin.

The leaves are scale-like, 3–7 mm long, in apparent whorls of four (actually opposite decussate pairs, but not evenly spaced apart, instead with the successive pairs closely then distantly spaced). The cones are 8–20 mm long, and have just 2 pairs of moderately thin, erect scales, each scale with a distinct spine 3–7 mm long on the outer face, and bearing two winged seeds on the inner face.


The species recognized in the genus are:[1]

Image Scientific name Distribution
Libocedrus austrocaledonica Brongn. & Gris New Caledonia
LibocedrusBidwillii.jpg Libocedrus bidwillii Hook.f. North + South Islands of New Zealand
Libocedrus chevalieri J.Buchholz Poindimié, Mt. Humboldt, + Mt. Kouakoué in New Caledonia
Libocedrus plumosa kz3.jpg Libocedrus plumosa (D.Don) Druce North + South Islands of New Zealand
Libocedrus yateensis Guillaumin Povila, Bleue-Yaté river, + Ouinné river in New Caledonia

The two New Zealand species, known individually by their Māori names kawaka (Libocedrus plumosa) and pāhautea (Libocedrus bidwillii), are sometimes called New Zealand cedars. No common names have been recorded for the three New Caledonian species.[citation needed]


The wood of Libocedrus is soft, moderately decay-resistant, and with a spicy-resinous fragrance. The two New Zealand species are also grown as ornamental plants.


  • Gadek, P. A., Alpers, D. L., Heslewood, M. M., & Quinn, C. J. 2000. Relationships within Cupressaceae sensu lato: a combined morphological and molecular approach. American Journal of Botany 87: 1044–1057. Abstract.

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