Woodman Point, WA

maturing cones

foliage, mature cones

mature cone

Natural populations

This species is endemic to the Swan coastal plain around Perth and on Rottnest and Garden Islands in the south west of Western Australia [1]. Callitris preissii is a medium-sized tree up to 10 m tall. The crown usually comprises fine, very dense foliage. It grows on calcareous, sandy soils derived from limestone or aeolian deposits along sand dune systems and rocky limestone knolls in this region [1].

Flowering and seeds

This species is monoecious with male and female flowers on the same plant and flowers (strobili) are present during October to November [1,2]. The woody cones are bourne on trees in an indehiscent state throughout the year. Seeds are wind dispersed. There are about 10* viable seeds per gram; seeds start to germinate in about 15 days if grown at 15°C with no pretreatment required [2].

Cultivation and uses

Callitris preissii is a fire sensitive, native conifer and like most Callitris species, it is relatively slow growing. It produces wood that is valued for its durability and termite resistance [1]. Apart from its occasional use in coastal revegetation in the Perth metro region, this species is not widely cultivated or used. It has excellent potential for erosion control of sandy, alkaline coastal sites.

Key descriptors:

Climate parameters
Mean annual rainfall: 800-900 mm
Rainfall distribution pattern: winter
Mean annual temperature: 15-21 °C
Mean max. temperature of the hottest month: 29-31 °C
Mean min. temperature of the coldest month: 8-10 °C
Frosts (approx. no. per year): frost free or more or less frost free
Altitude: 0-50 metres
Tolerance of climate extremes
Drought: known to be moderately drought tolerant or known to be tolerant of protracted droughts
Fire: killed by damaging fire does not regenerate foliage
Frost: tolerates frosts in the 0° to -5°C range
Wind: known or has attributes to make an excellent windbreak or tolerates salt-laden coastal winds
Soil factors
Texture: loam, sandy loam, sandy clay loam or sand
Soil pH reaction: alkaline (greater than 7.5)
Soil depth: skeletal to shallow (less than 30 cm) or moderate to deep (30-100 cm or greater)
Drainage:  well-drained
Salinity: slightly to moderately saline or non-saline
Tolerance of adverse soils
Extremes in pH: alkalinity
Extremes in texture: sand
Salinity: nil - sensitive to saline soils or slight tolerance (2-4 dS m-1)
Soil waterlogging tolerance: nil - sensitive to waterlogged soils
Biological traits under cultivation
Habit: evergreen shrub or tree 5-10 m tall
Longevity: moderate to long lived (>15 years)
Growth rate: slow
Coppicing ability: nil or negligible
Root system: moderate to deep or shallow and spreading
Erosion control potential: excellent for sandy sites
Windbreak potential: excellent (known or has good attributes) or tolerates salty coastal winds
Wood density: mod. to high (greater than 600 kg/cubic metre)
Carbon sequestration potential: moderate
Potential farm use: excellent windbreak, good for fence posts, good ornamental attributes, shelterbelt or shade for stock
Specialty products: pollen has value for apiculture
Urban use: good as an ornamental or amenity plant, ideal maintenance free street tree, suitable as a screen or hedge
Wood products: craftwood (for turnery etc.), high quality fuelwood, light construction, posts (including fencing), speciality timber for quality furniture, termite resistant
Potentially undesirable attributes
Fire sensitivity: killed by severe fires (seeder)
Growth habit: shallow roots may outcompete adjacent plants


[1] Boland DJ, Brooker MIH, Chippendale GM, Hall N, Hyland BPM, Johnson RD, Kleinig DA, McDonald MW, Turner JD (2006) Forest Trees of Australia. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood.

[2] Gunn BV (2001) Australian Tree Seed Centre Operations Manual. Internal Publication, CSIRO Australian Tree Seed Centre, ACT. [Online at  Accessed March 2008]

Internet links

FloraBase Western Australian Herbarium: