Agathis robusta

Agathis robusta

Agathis robusta (syn. A. palmerstonii; Queensland Kauri or Smooth-barked Kauri) is a coniferous tree in the family Araucariaceae, native to eastern Queensland, Australia. It occurs in two localities, a southern population on Fraser Island and around Maryborough, and a northern population on the Atherton Tableland west of Cairns; the northern population was formerly distinguished as Agathis palmerstonii, but does not differ from the southern population and is no longer considered distinct (Whitmore 1980). Trees in Papua New Guinea previously referred to Agathis robusta are now treated as a distinct species Agathis spathulata (de Laubenfels 1988).

It is a large evergreen tree growing straight and tall to a height of 30-50 m, with smooth, scaly bark. The leaves are 5-12 cm long and 2-5 cm broad, tough and leathery in texture, with no midrib; they are arranged in opposite pairs (rarely whorls of three) on the stem. The seed cones are globose, 8-13 cm diameter, and mature in 18-20 months after pollination; they disintegrate at maturity to release the seeds. The male (pollen) cones are cylindrical, 5-10 cm long and 1-1.5 cm thick.

The Queensland Kauri was heavily logged in the past, and spectacular trees of prodigious size are much rarer than in pre-European times; despite this, the species as a whole is not endangered.

References

  • Gymnosperm Database: Agathis robusta
  • de Laubenfels, D. J. (1988). Coniferales. In van Steenis & de Wilde (eds.), Flora Malesiana 10: 337-453.
  • Whitmore, T. C. (1980). A monograph of Agathis. Pl. Syst. Evol. 135: 41-69.

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