Characteristics of Jamuju Tree (Dacrycarpus imbricatus) in the Wild

Dacrycarpus imbricatus
Jamuju (Dacrycarpus imbricatus) is a species of conifer that belongs to the Podocarpaceae family. This tree can be found in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, and Vanuatu.

The natural habitat of this species is primary or secondary montane rainforest, where it usually forms an upper canopy as the codominant species. Jamuju often grows on volcanic or ultrabasic soil layers, rarely on limestone or sandstone. They are usually found in mixed forests along with artificial chestnut (Castanopsis sp.) and Lithocarpus species, often on steep slopes and mountains.

In West Java, Jamuju grows on Mount Ciremai at an altitude of 2400-2700 m asl along with Buddhist Pine (Podocarpus neriifolius) and Rasamala (Altingia excelsa). In Lombok, this species can be found from an altitude of 200 m asl, in Sulawesi to an altitude of 3000 m asl, and in Papua New Guinea up to 3720 m asl. At an altitude of more than 1200 m asl, above the Malaysian rainforest, which is dominated by Dipterocarpaceae, this species is usually found together with representatives of the genera Lithocarpus, Castanopsis, and other conifers such as Agathis, Dacrydium, Phyllocladus, and Podocarpus. New Guinea also grows together with representatives of False Beech (Nothofagus sp.) and Phyllocladus hypophyllus. The most common companions on ultramafic substrates are Casuarina (Casuarina sp.), and representatives of the families Myrtaceae, Leptospermum, Water Gum (Tristania neriifolia), Xanthomyrtus, and representatives of the genus Dacrydium.

The distribution area of ​​Jamuju trees is assigned to hardiness zone 10 with a mean annual minimum temperature between -1.1° and +4.4 °C.

Dacrycarpus imbricatus was classified as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List in 2013. However, the species is considered critically endangered in China and Vietnam at the national level. The biggest threat comes from the conversion of forest areas into oil palm plantations and other crops.

This tree was first described in 1827 by Carl Ludwig Blume as Podocarpus imbricatus and thus belongs to the genus Podocarpus. later, David John de Laubenfels placed them in 1969 as Dacrycarpus imbricatus in the genus Dacrycarpus.


Characteristics of Jamuju Leaf

Dacrycarpus imbricatus Leaf
Source: | San Francisco Botanical Garden

The leaves are spirally arranged, subulate or needle-like, curved at the apex, prostrate and imbricated or erect, 1-3 cm long, 4 mm wide, and pointed.


Characteristics of Jamuju Fruit

Dacrycarpus imbricatus Fruit
Source: Yeoh Yi Shuen

Pollen cones are at the tips of short shoots, at the base of which grow small needle-shaped leaves. Cones are nearly round when immature, elongate towards maturity and when ripe they are 8-12 mm long and 2-3 mm wide. A cone grows at the tip of the shoot, usually containing one, rarely two, seeds.


Characteristics of Jamuju Tree

Dacrycarpus imbricatus Tree

Jamuju grows as a large tree 40-50 meters high. The stems are erect, cylindrical, and reach up to 2 meters in diameter. The bark is hard, leathery, and in large trees, it breaks into thick, slightly oblong plates or peels off into short pieces. The bark is dark brown, turning greyish white, gray, or blackish under the influence of weather, the inner bark is pink to reddish-brown and slightly fibrous. The tree crown is initially dense and conical, then becomes more cylindrical to ovate or dome-shaped and irregular in large trees.

The wood is traded together with other genera such as Nageia and Podocarpus as “podocarp” or in Indonesia as “melur”. Its long fibers also make it excellent for pulping, but high-grade wood is used to make furniture, such as tables, for carpentry, and woodcarving in Thailand, the Philippines, and Fiji. Jamuju wood is also used in the manufacture of ship masts, tea crates, and in a variety of other applications. In the tropics, this species is also used as ornamental trees in gardens and parks.


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