Common Name: Koghis Kauri
Looking up the trunk into the canopy
Photograph by: Tim Waters
Agathis lanceolata is a tall, evergreen tree with an irregular, dense crown; it can grow up to 40 metres tall[
]. The bole can be free of branches for up to 15 metres[
The tree was the most important soft wood timber of New Caledonia, but was harvested well beyond its ability to regenerate and is no longer available in sufficient quantities for commercial exploitation. It is also harvested from the wild for the resin obtained from the trunk.
This species is facing a high risk of extinction in the wild due to a restricted and highly fragmented distribution, coupled with continued declines in both the extent of habitat and the size of the population; no population is thought to contain more than 1,000 mature individuals[
]. The plant is classified as 'Vulnerable' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2011)[
Pacific - New Caledonia.
An emergent tree in dense humid rainforest on ultramafic substrates[
|Other Uses Rating
Older trees grow well in sunny positions, but need the shady, sheltered conditions of the woodland when small[
The resin is antiseptic and vulnerary. It is used as a dressing for wounds and ulcers[
The trunk is a source of a kauri or dammar resin[
]. The tree produces an immense quantity of a yellowish, translucent, fragrant resin[
Dammar is a hard resin, obtained from various trees of Southeast Asia. Traditionally, it is used for purposes such as caulking boats and baskets, as an adhesive, a medicine, as a fuel for torches and sometimes in foods. Dammar has many commercial applications, though many of these uses are less important nowadays due to the advent of synthetic materials. Commercially, it is an ingredient of inks, lacquers, oil paints, varnishes etc, and is used as a glazing agent in foods[
Harvesting of the resin commences when the bole is around 25cm in diameter (approx 20 years old). Triangular cuts (becoming circular with age) are arranged in vertical rows around the trunk. The cuts are several centimetres wide at first, but become enlarged at every tapping and eventually become holes of 15 - 20cm in depth and width. The average number of holes for a tree about 30 metres tall and 60 - 80cm in diameter is 9 - 11 in each of 4 - 5 vertical rows. For the higher holes, the tapper climbs the tree supported by a rattan belt and using the lower holes as footholds.
The exuded resin is allowed to dry on the tree before it is collected. The frequency with which the tree is visited to refreshen the cut varies from once a week to once a month, depending on how far the tree is from the village. Tapping can continue for 30 years[
The heartwood is a pale cream, golden brown, to dark reddish or yellowish brown if resinous; it is usually not distinct from the sapwood[
]. The wood is lustrous; the grain mainly straight; texture fine and uniform; generally without distinctive odour or taste[
]. It is generally not durable, vulnerable to termite attack and prone to blue stain[
]. It works easily with hand and machine tools, finishes with a clean smooth surface; has good nailing and screwing properties; good veneer peeling characteristics; paints and polishes well; easy to glue[
]. A very important soft wood timber[
], it is used for a range of purposes, including vats and tanks, patternmaking, millwork, boatbuilding, furniture components, face veneers, shingles and pencil slats[
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[
Cuttings of epicormic shoots[
If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.