Prumnopitys harmsiana (Pilg.) de Laub.

A montane species found in several countries of Tropical South America. Old growth stands are increasingly rare due to over-exploitation for its valuable timber.


Prumnopitys harmsiana has a widespread distribution throughout Tropical South America where it occurs in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela: 

Colombia - Cordillera Central (Depts. Cauca, Quindío, Risaralda, Tolima) and in Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (Dept. Magdalena);
Peru - Departments:
Ayacucho, Cajamarca (Prov. San Ignacio), Cusco (Prov. La Convención,
Urubamba), Junín, Pasco (Prov. Oxapampa, La Convención), Piura, (Peov.
Huancabamba),  San Martín (Prov. Rioja);
Venezuela - Regions: Capital (States:Vargas, Miranda); Central (State: Aragua) Districto Federal, West central (Sate: Yaracuy);
Bolivia - Region of La Paz (Provs: Abel Iturralde, Franz Tamayo, Sud Yungas); and
Ecuador - Province of  Loja.

Typically the subpopulations can be widely separated, for example the five locations within Columbia are up to 600 km apart (Garcia 2007) and often growing in fragmented primary or as is more often the case, secondary forests

Habitat and Ecology

Often found on steep slopes in upper montane cloud forests up to 2,900 m but it has been recorded as low as 1,000 m in Peru. In Venezuela it occurs in upper montane elfin forest and scrub where the most frequent associated tree species include: Clusia multiflora, Weinmannia spp. (Parks Watch Venezuela 2003). In Colombia it occurs between 1,800-2,200 m where in some locations it is co-dominant with Oreopanax floribundum, Clusia alata, Toxicodendron striatum and Tibouchinia sp; it can also occur with Podocarpus oleifolius (García 2007).

Human Uses

As with most tropical podocarp species P. harmsiana is valued for its wood which is used for construction and carpentry

Conservation Status

Global Status

Near Threatened

Global Rationale

Prumnopitys harmsiana has a widespread distribution in Tropical South America where it occurs in five countries. Although on a national level in countries such as Ecuador and Colombia it should be considered as being threatened due to small subpopulations and pressures from deforestation, its area of occupancy globally is estimated to be beyond the threshold for Vulnerable; it has therefore been assessed as Near Threatened. The value of its wood and the ongoing threat to its habitat means that it should be assessed in the near future under criterion B2ab(iii,v).

Conservation Actions

Many subpopulations throughout its range are afforded protection within national parks. In Ecuador, the Reserva Rio Numbala protects one of the feew remaining old growth stands with Prumnopitys and Retrophyllum rospigliosii (Yaguana et al. 2012)

References and further reading

  1. García, N. (ed.). 2007. Libro Rojo de Plantas de Colombia. Volumen 5:Las magnoliáceas, las miristicáceas y las podocarpáceas. Serie Libros Rojos de Especies Amenazadas de Colombia. Instituto Alexander von Humboldt – Corporación Autónoma del Centro de Antioquia (CORANTIOQUIA), Jardín Botánico Joaquín Antonio Uribe de Medellín – Instituto de Ciencias Naturales de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Ministerio de Ambiente, Vivienda y Desarrollo Territorial. Bogotá, Colombia. pp.236. Instituto Alexander von Humboldt - Instituto de Ciencias Naturales de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia - Ministerio de Ambiente, Vivienda y Desarrollo Territorial., Bogotá.
  2. Gardner, M. 2013. Prumnopitys harmsiana. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T32287A2812675. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-1.RLTS.T32287A2812675.en. Downloaded on 07 August 2017
  3. Parks Watch Venezuela. July 2003. Pico Codazzi Natural Monument. Available at: http://www.parkswatch.org/parkprofiles/pdf/pcnm_eng.pdf.
  4. Vicuña-Miñano, E.E. 2005. Las Podocarpáceas de los bosques montanos del noroccidente peruano. Revista Peruviana Biologica 12(2): 283-288.
  5. Yaguana, C., Lozano, D., Neill, D.A. and Asanza, M., 2015. Diversidad florística y estructura del bosque nublado del Río Numbala, Zamora-Chinchipe, Ecuador: El “bosque gigante” de Podocarpaceae adyacente al Parque Nacional Podocarpus. Revista Amazónica Ciencia y Tecnología, 1(3), pp.226-247.

External links

Entry information:

Entry author:

P.Thomas ·

Entry last edited:

13 Mar 2018

Recommended Citation:

P.Thomas, 2018, Prumnopitys harmsiana, from the website: ‘Threatened Conifers of The World’ (https://threatenedconifers.rbge.org.uk/conifers/prumnopitys-harmsiana). Downloaded on 22 February 2024.

Categorised in:

Near Threatened, Direct exploitation, Northwestern Andes and Podocarpaceae