Saxegothaea conspicua or female mañío

Saxegothaea conspicua or female mañío

Despite its name that is difficult to pronounce and even to write, the saxegothaea conspicua It is a highly valued species in those places where it grows wild. Under this name what we find is a very common conifer in the southwestern region of South America.

If you want to know more about this variety, keep reading and discover all the interesting features of this tree and some curiosities.

What is the place of origin and natural habitat of this tree?

We are talking about a conifer that belongs to the Podocarpaceae family, which comes from the southwest of South America. Also known as the Guaitecas cypress, it is a tree native to the southern region of Chile, where it grows in the humid temperate forests of the Andes Mountains. But what It has also spread to other regions such as Argentina, where it is common to hear it called the Prince Albert cypress. Another nickname by which this variety is known, especially in Chile, is female mañío.

It is a species that grows well in moist soils with good drainage capacity, and develops best in areas that have a high level of precipitation and constant atmospheric humidity. So it is common on steep slopes and mountain valleys.

Physical characteristics of saxegothaea conspicua

Physical characteristics of saxegothaea conspicua

Here you have a series of distinctive features that will help you determine without a doubt that you are in the presence of a tree of this type.


This conifer is medium in size, and can reach dimensions between 25 and 30 meters in height. Maintaining in any case a conical and pyramidal shape based on a dense crown and horizontal branches that extend from the main trunk.


As it is not an excessively large tree, its trunk does not usually develop too much, and it usually measures around a meter in diameter.

Its bark is dark brown, with a rough, scaly texture that becomes thicker as the conifer ages. This results in a fairly resistant wood., which is used in interior and exterior applications.


The leaves of the saxegothaea conspicua have the typical appearance of conifers. They are scaly and arranged in a spiral around the twigs. Its color is dark green with bright touches on the top. and somewhat paler at the bottom.

They are evergreen leaves, so it is possible to appreciate the foliage of this tree throughout the year.

Male and female cones

Male and female cones

Conifers do not produce flowers, but directly generate cones or cones that contain the seeds. They are dioecious trees, which means that there are male and female specimens.

  • Male cones. They are small and elongated, brown in color. Their development occurs in groups on the lower branches of the tree, and they are responsible for releasing pollen that the wind transports to the female cones to carry out fertilization.
  • female cones. They are larger and more rounded than the male ones. They start out green and turn brown as they mature. Inside them are the seeds, which are surrounded by a layer of winged tissue that allows them to be dispersed more easily by the wind. Once the seeds have matured, the female cones open and release the seeds.


The roots of the female mañío are usually shallow, but they have a great capacity for development to search for water and nutrients in the soil. That's why, This tree is especially vulnerable to falls if it is located in water-saturated soils. or on very steep slopes.


One of the outstanding characteristics of this species is that it can live for hundreds of years in favorable conditions. Not being a fast growing tree, can live longer than other species.


The wood of this tree is highly appreciated for the following factors:

  • Color and appearance. It has a color between pink and reddish brown that makes it very attractive. And its fine, uniform grain contributes to its beauty.
  • Density and durability. It is very resistant wood against the deterioration that fungi, insects and adverse environmental conditions can cause. Therefore, it is particularly suitable for exterior applications and structural use.
  • Dimensional stability. It expands and contracts slightly if there are changes in humidity and temperature, but is relatively dimensionally stable compared to other wood species.

Conditions for the saxegothaea conspicua to develop

Conditions for the saxegothaea conspicua to develop

This species thrives in very specific climatic conditions that occur in the humid temperate forests of Chile and Argentina, and are the following:


It is a variety that prefers cool and humid climates, where temperatures are never extremely cold or hot. Besides, needs to be in places where the annual rainfall rate is high and is well distributed.


Saxegothaea conspicua grows best in well-drained soils with enough organic matter to make them fertile. Although it can also adapt to other types of soils, It develops best in those with an acidic pH.


This is a variety that needs a lot of ambient temperature to grow well. Something especially important during their first years of growth, since at that time the tree is very sensitive to drought.

The ideal environment for the female mañío is one in which there is fog and high atmospheric humidity for most of the year.


It can tolerate some level of shade, but ideally it can grow in places where it receives direct or partial sunlight for much of the day. And this is promotes healthy growth and homogeneous tree structure, adopting the classic conifer shape.


As its roots are not too deep, it is always exposed to some risk of falling. A risk that decreases when it grows in places protected from excessive wind, such as gentle slopes.


It usually grows at moderate altitudes of between 100 and 1.000 meters above sea level. It can develop at higher altitudes, but The most extreme conditions that it has to endure at those altitudes can negatively affect to their growth and survival.

Saxegothaea conspicua is a conifer that grows best wild in its natural habitat, thus contributing to the maintenance of ecosystems. Did you know her?

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