1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Kauri pine
|←Kaup, Johann Jakob||1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 15
|See also Agathis australis on Wikipedia, and our 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica disclaimer.|
KAURI PINE, in botany, Agathis australis, a conifer native of New Zealand where it is abundant in forests in the North Island between the North Cape and 38° south latitude. The forests are rapidly disappearing owing to use as timber and to destruction by fires. It is a tall resiniferous tree, usually ranging from 80 to 100 ft. in height, with a trunk 4 to 10 ft. in diameter, but reaching 150 ft., with a diameter of 15 to 22 ft.; it has a straight columnar trunk and a rounded bushy head. The thick resiniferous bark falls off in large flat flakes. The leaves, which persist for several years, are very thick and leathery; on young trees they are lance-shaped 2 to 4 in. long and ¼ to ½ in. broad, becoming on mature trees linear-oblong or obovate-oblong and ¾ to 1½ in. long. The ripe cones are almost spherical, erect, and 2 to 3 in. in diameter; the broad, flat, rather thin cone-scales fall from the axis when ripe. Each scale bears a single compressed seed with a membranous wing. The timber is remarkable for its strength, durability and the ease with which it is worked. The resin, kauri-gum, is an amber-like deposit dug in large quantities from the sites of previous forests, in lumps generally varying in size from that of a hen's egg to that of a man's head. The colour is of a rich brown or amber yellow, or it may be almost colourless and translucent. It is of value for varnish-making.