Common Name: Black Kauri
Agathis atropurpurea is an evergreen tree that can grow up to 50 metres tall.
This species used to be heavily exploited for its valuable timber, but is now protected in most of its range and commercial exploitation has ceased[
Selective logging of this species in the past has reduced the size of its population and limited its distribution.The estimated current extent of occurrence for this species is well within the threshold for Endangered. Logging has now ceased to be a problem but recent reports of Phytophthora cinnamomi related dieback in some parts of its range indicate that continued monitoring of this species is required. The plant is classified as 'Near Threatened' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
Australia - northern Queensland
Forming small groves[
]. An emergent tree, restricted to simple microphyll vine-fern forest in cloudy wet highlands; at elevations from 700 - 1,600 metres[
|Conservation Status||Near Threatened
|Other Uses Rating||
Young plants grow better in the shelter and shade of the woodland, but require increasing amounts of light as they grow larger[
Agathis species in general yield a high quality resin, often known as Manila Copal. The resins obtained from Agathis borneensis, Agathis dammara, Agathis lanceolata, Agathis macrophylla and Agathis philippinensis are the most important commercially, but all members of the genus yield usuable quantities.
The resin is obtained in three forms. Firstly, it naturally exudes from the bark, branches, cones etc of the tree, especially as a result of any damage - some of these exudations can weigh as much as 20 kilos. The second form, known as fossil resin, is dug up from the ground - some of this resin can be of fairly recent origin (perhaps secreted by the roots of trees that have been felled, but much of it can be up to 50,000 years old, perhaps formed on a tree that fell naturally and was then gradually buried. The third form of resin is harvested by tapping the tree, though this can easily damage the tree and lead to premature death.
The resin has a range of applications. Traditionally it has been used as a fuel for camp fires, as a torch, as a waterproofing on boats, as a medicine, the smoke from the burning resin is used as a black dye and for tatooing. The resin is used commercially in making high quality varnishes, lacquers, linoleum[
The wood obtained from the various species of Agathis is very uniform. It is a cream white or light yellow in colour, often with a pink reflection, turning golden brown on exposure; there is no clear demarcation between heartwood and sapwood. The grain is straight, the texture fine. Drying rate is normal to slow; there is a risk of blue stain. The blunting effect on tools is normal and the peeling and slicing is reported to be good; planed surfaces are lustrous; it takes stains well; nailing is good; gluing is correct[
]. A valuable timber tree, producing a durable, fine-grained, featureless timber[
]. It is used for various interior purposes such as high class furniture, veneer, boxes and crates, light carpentry, musical instruments, moulding, sliced veneer, joinery, panelling, matches, wood-ware[
Seed - it cannot tolerate desiccation and does not store for much more than 2 months in normal conditions. It does not require pre-treatment. Sowing is done with the wing part of the seed pointing upwards and 66% of the seed buried in the soil. Germination commences within 6 days, with 90 - 100% germination rates within 10 days[
Cuttings of leading shoots[
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