The Latin name is Podocarpus totara. Thus, this is another species of the native trees that is a podocarp. Remember, podocarps are a type of conifer tree that reproduces with a female cone and then produces a seed at the tip of a fleshy fruit.
The leaves are tiny (1 – 3 mm long by 3 – 4 mm wide), needle like, and sharp to the touch. Common totara grows up to 30 meters tall with a trunk diameter of up to 2 metres or more. It can be found across the country in lowland and mountain forest.
The bark is reddish/gray in colour, often deeply furrowed, and quite stingy.