On this page we provide you with two ways to identify the most common wielding conifers in New Zealand.
The first way is to use an interactive LUCIDTM Conifer Key developed by SCION.
IMPORTANT: Instructions to use the interactive LUCIDTM key (link below) have changed and it is now necessary to include our website in the exemption site list as the LUCIDTM key is a self-signed applet. This was not a problem previously but recently Oracle has removed the ability to run unsigned java applets (the key is such an applet).
To include the website exemption do the following:
open the java control panel (under programs -> java -> configure java
select security tab
type our web adress http://www.wildingconifers.org.nz
once you have done this and you click to the link below you might get asked if you want the application you need to click "I accept the risk..." tick box to get the key started.
We realize this is a bit more difficult than previously but the only way at the moment to use the interactive key:
The second option is to use the table-style identification key below:
The table below was created by Nick Ledgard (Scion) in order to assist the identification of common introduced conifers in the field. For this reason, it has been kept simple, only utilising features which can be easily seen by observers without trained botanical backgrounds. For some species features links to photographs exist (by clicking on blue marked text you can access these photos)
Common conifer identification (by Nick Ledgard)
(using a minimum number of distinctive features)
|Common name||Latin name||Tree habit||Needles||Winter bud||Cone||Comments|
|No per fascicle||
|long>10mm short<10mm||colour; reflexed scales||large>70mm small<70mm||Spike on scale|
|Radiata pine||Pinus radiata||erect||3||long||long||brown||large||no||persistent branch cones|
|Ponderosa Pine||Pinus ponderosa||erect||3||long||long||whitish||large||yes||Cones shed annually|
|Corsican Pine||Pinus nigra||erect||2||long||long||white/whitish||small||no||Cones shed annually. No stalk on cone (cf. Scots pine)|
|Muricata Pine||Pinus muricata||erect||2||long||long||brown||large||long spike||persistent branch cones, v. prickly|
|Maritime Pine||Pinus pinaster||erect||2||long||long||brown, scales reflexed||large||broad spike||stout needles, persistent branch cones|
|Lodgepole Pine||Pinus contorta||erect||2||short||long||brown, often resinous||small||v.fine spike||Cones often persistent on branches, best diagnostic feature is scale spike|
|Scots Pine||Pinus sylvestris||erect||2||short||short||brown, scales reflexed||small||no||Cones with short stalk, shed annually. Silvery appearance to foliage|
|erect||2||short||short/long||white (resin)||small||no||Cone scales can be very hooked|
|Dwarf Mountain Pine||Pinus mugo||many leaders||2||short||short/long||white (resin)||small||no||10mm sheath on base of young needles|
|Douglas-fir||Pseudotsuga menziesii||erect||1||short in one plane||short||brown||small||no||Cones soft and hanging down, with obvious bracts longer than scales|
|European Larch||Larix decidua||erect||10+||short||short||NA||small||no||Deciduous. Cones soft, persistent|