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Callitris Vent., Decas 10 (1808); from the Greek kallos (beauty) and tris , of uncertain derivation, possibly a rendering of the Greek trichos (a hair) or treis (three), the latter presumably alluding to the trimerous phyllotaxis.

Type: Callitris rhomboidea R.Br. ex Rich.

Frenela Mirb., Mém. Mus. Hist. Nat. 13: 30 (1825). T: A nomenclatural synonym of Callitris , which has been lectotypified on Callitris rhomboidea R.Br. ex Rich., fide A.A.Bullock, Taxon 6: 227 (1957).

Octoclinis F.Muell., Trans. & Proc. Philos. Inst. Victoria 2: 21 (1858). T: O. macleayana F.Muell.

Monoecious trees or shrubs. Branches erect, spreading or fastigiate. Bark persistent, hard and compact (fibrous in C. macleayana ). Juvenile leaves acicular, triangular in cross-section, in whorls of 4, spreading, basally shortly decurrent. Adult leaves in alternating whorls of 3, decurrent for much of their length; free tip triangular in section and often appressed; dorsal surface rounded or keeled. Male cones terminal on short branches, solitary, paired or clustered, comprising numerous alternating, trimerous whorls of imbricate scales; each with 2–6 abaxial microsporangia; pollen spherical, not saccate. Female cones solitary or clustered on short lateral branches, comprising 2 whorls of 3 fertile scales with a reduced internode, to form a 6-merous cone (rarely 8 in species 12 & 14); outer whorl of scales often smaller than the inner; fertile scales each with 1–8 erect ovules and subtended by an adnate sterile bract which may form a dorsal protuberance. Mature cones persistent or deciduous. Seeds 1–8 per scale, 1–3-winged. 2n = 22 (7 species), P.N.Mehra & T.N.Koshoo, J. Genet. 54: 181–185 (1956). 

A genus of 19 species; 17 endemic to Australia and two endemic to New Caledonia. 

A number of the more abundant species have been and still are widely cut for their durable and insect-resistant timber.

R.T.Baker & H.G.Smith, A Research on the Pines of Australia (1910); J.Garden, A revision of the genus Callitris , Contr. New South Wales Natl Herb. 2: 363–392 (1957); J.Thompson, 5. Cupressaceae, Contr. New South Wales Natl Herb., Fl. Ser. 1–18: 46–55 (1961); J.Venning, Cupressaceae, in J.P.Jessop & H.R.Toelken (eds), Fl. S. Australia 1: 105–108 (1986); R.Adams & D.Simmonds, A chemosystematic study of Callitris (Cupressaceae) in south-eastern Australia, Austral. Forest Res. 17(2): 113–125 (1987).

1 Dorsal surface of adult leaf rounded


1: Dorsal surface of adult leaf keeled


2 Female cones solitary on slender branchlets which are not apically expanded; female cone scales thin and separating almost to base


2: Female cones solitary or clustered, on short branchlets which expand towards the apex; female cone scales thick, united below and forming a thick cone base


3 Largest female cones less than 18 mm diam.; tropical species


3: Largest female cones more than 18 mm diam.; southern species


4 Foliage grey-green or glaucous; older trees with a spreading habit, not columnar; inland species


4: Foliage dark green; older trees with a columnar, erect habit; coastal species


5 Female cones more than 20 mm diam.


5: Female cones less than 20 mm diam.


6 Female cones 20–25 mm diam.; plants usually multi-stemmed


6: Female cones usually more than 25 mm diam.; plants usually single-stemmed


7 Female cones acute or obtuse, finely regularly tuberculate; eastern Australian species


7: Female cones rounded, smooth or irregularly tuberculate; Western Australian species


8 Female cones densely irregularly and coarsely tuberculate


8: Cones smooth or sparsely tuberculate


9 Female cone scales with a distinct, broad, conical, dorsal protuberance


9: Female cone scales with a small, narrow protuberance, or protuberance lacking


10 Female cones globular, not longer than broad


10: Female cones ovoid, distinctly longer than broad


11 Leaves less than 3 mm long, obtusely keeled; eastern Australian species


11: Leaves mostly more than 3 mm long, acutely keeled; western Australian species


12 All cone scales equal


12: Alternate cone scales reduced


13 Female cones on slender branchlets which are not apically expanded, deciduous soon after maturity


13: Female cones on stout, apically expanded branchlets, persistent for several years after maturity


14 Leaves obtusely keeled; columella 1–3 mm high, deeply 3-lobed or 3-partite


14: Leaves acutely keeled; columella 3–5 mm high, shallowly apically 3-angled


15 Female cones globular, not longer than broad


15: Female cones ovoid, distinctly longer than broad


16 Female cones less than 20 mm diam.; dorsal leaf surface acutely keeled; Western Australian species


16: Female cones more than 20 mm diam.; dorsal leaf surface obtusely keeled; eastern Australian species


17 Adult leaves 2–3 mm long


17: Adult leaves mostly more than 4 mm long



Data derived from Flora of Australia Volume 48 (1998), a product of ABRS, ©Commonwealth of Australia