Agathis Australis(New Zealand Kauri)

The genus Agathis, commonly known as kauri or dammar, is a relatively small genus of 21 species of evergreen trees in the very ancient Araucariaceae family of conifers. While initially widespread during the Jurassic period they are now found only in small areas of the southern hemisphere. The trees have characteristically very large trunks and little or no branching for some way up. Young trees are normally conical in shape, only upon maturity does the crown become more rounded or irregularly shaped.

The bark is smooth and light grey to grey-brown usually peeling into irregular flakes that become thicker on more mature trees. The branch structure is often horizontal or when larger, becoming more ascending. The lowest branches often leave circular branch scars as they fall off from the lower trunk.

The juvenile leaves in all species are larger than the adult, more or less acute, varying among the species from ovate to lanceolate. Adult leaves are opposite, elliptical to linear, and very leathery and quite thick. Young leaves are often a coppery-red, contrasting markedly with the usually green or glaucous-green foliage of the previous season. The male pollen cones appear usually only on larger trees after seed cones have appeared. The female seed cones usually develop on short lateral branchlets, maturing after two years. They are normally oval or globe shaped. The trees are the source of Dammar Gum. Seeds of some species are attacked by the caterpillars of one of the most primitive of all living moths, Agathiphaga.

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