A woman looking up at a Queensland Kauri

Queensland Kauri

Common name QLD Kauri / NZ Kauri
Botanical name Agathis robusta / Agathis australia
Family Araucariaceae
Natural range QLD and the North Island of NZ
Mature height to 40m+
Form Upright, clear trunk with bushy crown
Likes Living for thousands of years
Dislikes Being logged to extinction
Where to plant Anywhere you want a majestic forest giant.
Known for Huge, thick trunks

What Makes the Agathis robusta So Special?

Queensland Kauri, also known as Agathis robusta, is a majestic tree that demands your attention. It’s hard to single out one tree as a favourite, but the Kauri unquestionably lands among the top three for most tree lovers. Imagine standing at the foot of a towering giant, craning your neck to glimpse its lofty crown far above. The mere sight of these thick-trunked wonders in the wild is awe-inspiring, whether you stumble upon them in the dense Queensland rainforest or nestled in an isolated corner of New Zealand’s North Island.

Why Do Arborists Love the Hammer-Marked Bark?

One distinguishing characteristic of these colossal trees is their unique hammer-marked bark. This textured covering bestows an added sense of weight and mass, reinforcing their domineering presence in the landscape. Part of the Araucariaceae family, these Southern Hemisphere conifers stretch across diverse locations, including peninsular Malaysia, the southwest Pacific, Fiji, New Caledonia, and Australia’s very own Queensland.

Where Are the Native Habitats of Queensland Kauri?

The Australian variant, Agathis robusta, or the Queensland Kauri, is endemic to two specific locations within Australia. You’ll encounter them on Fraser Island and the neighbouring mainland in southern Queensland, as well as a more northerly cluster on the Atherton Tableland, located west of Cairns.

What’s the History of the New Zealand Kauri?

Meanwhile, the New Zealand Kauri (Agathis australis) once reigned over both islands of the country, extending as far south as Invercargill. Historians estimate that approximately 1.5 million hectares of Kauri forest flourished before human settlement. Tragically, now only a mere 0.5% or about 7000 hectares of this majestic forest remains.

Why Are Kauri Trees in Danger of Extinction?

The primary cause for this devastating loss has been commercial logging. The Kauri, with its impressive stature, not only presents an amazing spectacle but also offers excellent timber. Its robust and easily workable wood made the Kauri highly sought-after during the early settlement days in both Australia and New Zealand. In New Zealand, most Kauri forests were either logged or cleared for farmland to satiate the booming export markets.

How Do Kiwi Kauris Compare to Aussie Kauris?

When it comes to size, the Kiwi Kauris tend to outdo their Aussie counterparts. Among these giant trees, ‘Tane Mahuta’ or ‘Lord of the Forest’ stands as a remarkable specimen. Nestled in the heart of Waipoua Forest, New Zealand, this tree is believed to be between 1500-3000 years old, towers at 45m, and boasts a girth of a whopping 15.5m.

What Is the Story of the ‘Great Ghost’ Kauri?

The largest recorded specimen in New Zealand, the ‘Great Ghost,’ once held court in the mountains near Tararu Creek, east of Auckland. This legendary tree reportedly had a stunning circumference of 26.8m before a fire tragically ended its reign around 1890.

Are There Any Ancient Agathis sp. Still Among Us?

Interestingly, traces of the ancient Kauri lineage survive to this day. Prehistoric Kauri logs, aptly named ‘Swamp Kauri,’ have been preserved in waterlogged soils for centuries. Radiocarbon dating has revealed that some of these buried trees, found in salt marshes, are a staggering 50,000 years old or even older. In essence, the Queensland Kauri is not just a tree but a living, breathing chronicle of our planet’s history, waiting to be appreciated by those who venture into the forest’s heart.

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