Included here is New Zealand (North and South islands), Stewart Island and a multitude of smaller islands.

Neozeylandic Podocarp Forest

Podocarps are primarily a southern hemisphere family (Podocarpaceae), which is thought to be a reflection of their dominance in Gondwana during the Cretaceous period. Originally these ancient forests extended from the extreme north of North Island to the south of Stewart Island, although the dominant podocarp species varies. In this respect, they can be broadly divided into three types: forests dominated by the endemic Dacrydium cupressinus, forests dominated by the endemic Podocarpus totara, and forests dominated by Podocarpus spicatus. Dacrydium forest extends from south of Hokianga Harbour to Stewart Island. Podocarpus totara forests are mainly limited to the volcanic plateau south and west of Lake Taupo and the East Cape districts of North Island, while in South Island they appear to have been largely restricted to eastern districts. It is not now possible to determine the original distribution of Podocarpus spicatus forest. Today remnants can be found on the Southland Plain and they form small stands on the flats of nearly all Westerland rivers as far south as the Cascade River. All podocarps are light demanding especially during their early development. About 385 woodland species have been recorded in these forests, but those of North Island and those in the north and northwest of South Island are far richer than those further south.  Among these are many endemic species including ferns and fern allies such as Blechnum discolor (Blechnaceae), Hymenophyllum sanguinolentum (Hymenophyllaceae), Leptopteris hymenophylloides (Osmundaceae) and Tmesipteris tannensis (Psilotaceae), and flowering plants like Aristotelia serrata (Elaeocarpaceae), Astelia nervosa (Asteliaceae), Carpodetus serratus (Rousseaceae), Coprosma lucida (Rubiaceae), Coriaria arborea (Coriariaceae), Earina mucronata (Orchidaceae), Epilobium pubens (Onagraceae), Hydrocotyle novae-zelaniae (Apiaceae), Griselinia littoralis (Griseliniaceae), Parsonsia heterophylla (Apocynaceae), Plagianthus betulinus (Malvaceae), Rhipogonum scandens (Smilacaceae), Rubus australis (Rosaceae), Schefflera digitata (Araliaceae) and Uncinia caespitosa (Cyperaceae).

Neozeylandic Podocarpus dacrydioides Swamp Forest

Swamp forest dominated by Podocarpus dacrydioides extend throughout the low belts of New Zealand but become less diverse in the northern Otago districts of South Island and on Stewart Island. They only gain their best development in the flood zones of large rivers, where they can have an unusual physiognomy often with a preponderance of largely unbranched, very straight P. dacrydioides trees. These can be very tall, reaching heights of 60 m, and even though their crowns are often very sparse, they frequently support surprisingly large bushes of the endemic Astelia solandri (Asteliaceae). In other cases their trunks may be highly buttressed and their roots exposed well above the ground. The undergrowth only becomes well developed in the drier areas, but the endemic liana Freycinetia banksii (Pandanaceae) can often completely envelop tree trunks. Other trees may include the endemic Laurelia novae-zelandiae (Monimiaceae), which produces large pneumatophores, while the dominant tree fern is the endemic Dicksonia squarrosa (Dicksoniaceae). Among the many other common endemic taxa are Blechnum procerum (Blechnaceae), Geniostoma ligustrifolium (Loganiaceae), Melicytus micranthus (Violaceae) and Rubus schmidelioides (Rosaceae).

Neozeylandic Dacrydium colensoi (silver fir) Bog Forest

Bog forests dominated by Dacrydium colensoi are largely confined to the volcanic plateau district in the Mount Raupehu areas of North Island and the western lowlands of the Southern Alps. Associated trees include Podocarpus hallii and the endemic Libocedrus bidwillii (Cupressaceae) and Phylocladus alpinus (Phyllocladaceae). The canopy reaches no more than about 12 m in height, but there is usually dense undergrowth up to 3 m tall. This commonly includes endemic species like Alseuosmia quercifolia (Alseuosmiaceae), Coprosma foetidissima (Rubiaceae), Gahnia pauciflora (Cyperaceae) and Weinmannia racemosa (Cunoniaceae). 

Neozeylandic Dacrydium intermediate (yellow pine) Bog Forest

Extending much further south than Dacrydium colensoi forest, these forests occur in the upland areas of North Island and in the northwestern and fiord districts of South Island, but show their best development on Stewart Island. A characteristic feature of these forests is their rich bryophyte flora, with many trees support giant cushions of the Dicranoloma billardieri and Plagiochila gigantea. There is also a profusion of bryophytes on the forest floor, which also typically includes tussocks of the endemic Gahnia procera (Cyperaceae). Ferns, including tree ferns, are uncommon, but the endemic Leptopteris superba (Osmundaceae) can be commonly found in wet gullies. Other endemic species that may be encountered in the undergrowth include Coprosma colensoi (Rubiaceae), Dracophyllum latifolium (Ericaceae) and Elaeocarpus hookerianus (Elaeocarpaceae).


Cockayne, L. 1958. The Vegetation of New Zealand. H. R. Engelmann (J. Cramer).

Molloy, L. 1994. Wild New Zealand. The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.