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podocarp

family of 17 or more genera and 125-165 species of conifers (division Pinophyta, order Pinales), ornamental and timber evergreen trees and shrubs distributed mainly in the Southern Hemisphere. The seven main genera are Pherosphaera, Microcachrys, Saxegothaea, Dacrydium, Acmopyle, Podocarpus, and Phyllocladus. All occur in the Australasian region, except Saxegothaea and its relatives (South America); another genus, Afrocarpus, is native to Africa and Madagascar. The Podocarpaceae are usually dioecious (having separate male and female plants) and have leaves variously awl-shaped, needlelike, or broad, with many parallel veins. In the genus Phyllocladus, the foliar leaves are replaced by flattened branchlets (phylloclades) resembling leaves. The staminate, or pollen-bearing, cones are borne in a terminal or axillary position on leafy twigs; the ovulate, or seed-bearing, cones at maturity become fleshy and sometimes brightly coloured and surmount the fleshy cone axis

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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