Dacrycarpus dacrydioides (Kahikatea in the Māori language) is a coniferous tree endemic to New Zealand.
The tree grows to a height of 55 m with a trunk exceeding one m in diameter, and is buttressed at the base.
It is dominant in lowland forest and wetlands throughout the North and South Islands. The leaves are spirally arranged; on young plants, they are awl-shaped, 3 to 8 mm long, and twisted at the base to lie spread to the sides of the shoot in a flat plane; on mature trees, they are scale-like, 1 to 3 mm long, and placed all round the shoot. The cones are highly modified, with the cone scales swelling at maturity into an orange to red, fleshy, aril with a single apical seed 3 to 5 mm in diameter. The seeds are dispersed by birds, which eat the fleshy scale and pass the seeds in their droppings.
Before extensive logging, trees of 80 m height were known, and a specimen at Pirongia Forest Reserve is the tallest native tree in New Zealand at 80.1 m.
Until recently the tree was more likely to be referred to by the misleading name "white pine", despite its not being a pine; the Māori name kahikatea is now more widely used (other Māori names are kaikatea, kahika, katea, kōaka).
Like many other species in the family Podocarpaceae, the classification of kahikatea has changed over time, having also been placed in the genera Podocarpus and Nageia.
Since the wood does not impart an odour, and is clean and lightweight, Kahikatea was used to make boxes for the exporting of butter when the refrigerated export became feasible from Australia and New Zealand in the 1880s.The butter was exported in 56 lb slabs, and kahikatea became less common as the export industry grew.
For Māori, the kahikatea had many uses. The fleshy aril or koroi was an important food resource, and was served at feasts in great amounts. The wood was also favoured for making bird spears. Soot obtained from burning the heartwood supplied a pigment for traditional tattooing (tā moko).
Kahikatea, along with other trees in privately owned forests, can only be harvested under a permit system and if sustainable harvesting techniques are used.
I photographed this tree at the Arnold River Reserve,whilst out hunting fungi few days ago.
Unfortunately,we can't see any of its branches or foliage,because they are way above the branches of the surrounding trees.We are not actually even seeing the top of the tree in this shot,and this is only a 'middle aged' specimen!
I could have used fill flash to bring out more detail in the trunk,and I had a photo that was brighter,but I decided that this silhouette gave a great impression of the height,and a really good 3D effect.
You must be lying on your back to get this perspective, Steve.
The picture does evoke a sense of awe at the height of this tree. We have pretty tall cedar trees at altitudes varying betwee 6 and 7 thousand feet and they too grow very tall but not as tall as this one.
The picture serves the purpose of educating us about the flora in your country quite well.
Thanks and regards.
The perspective caught here certainly gives the impression of tallness. Pity the low light did not allow a view of the bark but the composition is fine and the canopy looks interesting.
So I reckon you don't have any Sequoia out there eh? Well this one will certainly do...can you figure the size of the bar on a a chainsaw? Wow...Two or three cuts...hard and dangerous work..maybe for a conservative reason!