Podocarpus costalis C.Presl

Podocarpaceae

Distributed in the Philippines and Taiwan where it is restricted to as few as five localities; it is in decline because of plants being taken from the wild for horticultural use

Associated Names:

Distribution

Philippines and Taiwan: found mainly in Lanyu Island, Taiwan, and the Batan Islands in the Luzon Strait. The type collection was gathered from Luzon in the Philippines.

The total population is suspected to be decreasing due to over collecting for the horticultural trade.

Habitat and Ecology

Podocarpus costalis occurs on islands in lowland evergreen scrub to low forest on karst limestone bluffs and ridges or sea-stacks, from near sea level to at least 300 metres above sea-level. It may be native in similar habitat on the northern coast of Luzon

Human Uses

This attractive, shrubby dwarf tree is popular in cultivation for gardens in the Philippines and in Taiwan, where it has been confused with P. polystachyus. Podocarpus costalis is also used in bonsai culture

Conservation Status

Global status

Endangered B2ab(v)

Global rationale

The area of occupancy (ca 24km²) is well within the threshold for Endangered and the continuing removal of mature individuals for horticulture and/or pot plants is depleting the population.

Global threats

Podocarpus costalis has a very limited distribution in fewer than five localities (islands) and is restricted to a specific habitat. It is in decline because plants are taken from the wild to be planted in gardens in Luzon and Taiwan, and possibly elsewhere. It was listed on Appendix I of CITES in 1975, but deleted from the Appendices in 1990.

Conservation Actions

This species is legally protected in the Philippines and Taiwan: collecting from the wild is illegal. Attempts should be made to grow this species from seed or scions in order to minimize the taking of plants from habitat.