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Shrub or tree to 25 m, to 1 m dbh; typically multistemmed or branching low down. Branches spreading or ascending, long, forming a pyramidal or broadly domed crown. Adult leaves 0.1–0.5 cm, yellowish green or glaucous, dorsal surface convex. Male strobili above female cones, numerous, solitary or in groups of two to three, 0.3–0.5 cm long with 15–20 microsporophylls. Female cones terminal on very short thick fruiting branchlets, solitary or more often clustered, ovoid to globose when closed, 2–3 × 2.2–3.5 cm, maturing in one to one and a half years, persistent, brown or purplish brown to black, weathering to grey; scales six, smooth to coarsely rugose, often covered with large pimple-like structures. Seeds 9–12 on each scale, ~1 cm diameter, dark brown or reddish brown, with two (to three) wings. Farjon 2005c. Distribution AUSTRALIA: New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia. Habitat Coastal and inland sand dunes, sandy floodplains and hillsides between 2 and 670 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 9–10. Conservation status Lower Risk. Illustration Farjon 2005c; NT182, NT185. Cross-reference K60.
There are two specimens of Callitris preissii at Kew. The larger, currently at 2.3 m, is from FAWA 438, collected by Aljos Farjon and A. Watt in Western Australia in 1997. The parent population included trees up to 12 m tall, dbh 30 cm, and was growing amongst farmland at an altitude of 120 m. The other individual at Kew (1.2 m) was collected by Aljos Farjon (FRJA 394) from a parent tree growing on sand dunes on the northern tip of Garden Island, Western Australia, also in 1997 – perhaps the most improbable provenance of any tree in this book. Both seem to be healthy, with bright green shoots, and both have coned. Johnson (2007) records a 2.2 m specimen at Thorn House, near Plymouth, Devon, so despite its lowland provenance it seems to have some degree of hardiness.