Saturday, October 8, 2011

Kauri Abundant

Queensland Kauri (Agathis robusta) is a gorgeous, coniferous, evergreen tree, and can grow hugely. A member of the ancient Araucariaceae family, it is one of only 21 in its genus. Fashionable in Victorian times, it was often planted as far south as Melbourne in large and institutional gardens.
Living as I did not long ago in Hawthorn close to the Yarra River, I'd often walk with my then dog, 'Ulysses', past Glenferrie Primary School in Manningtree Road. At its entrance stands a slender Kauri, probably planted when the school was built in the 1870s. ( The above photograph is gratefully purloined from the school's website.)
Any number of times I planted seeds from this and other Kauris in the hope of getting one up and going. The specimen above was planted as a seed on the 15th of March, 2002, and sat for a number of years, until it got to be tough enough, on the ledge of my bathroom window.
As soon as it starts to get warm in spring, the tree unfurls its delicate, new, coppery growth, like sea-weed. You can also see the older, leathery leaves, with their hint of a prehistoric past.
Climbing a tilted ladder this morning, dew still on the leaves of the tree, I was hoping to get high enough to take some shots looking down from its apex, but common sense intervened.
I'm proud of this beautiful, 3 metre tree, and hope that it will one day be vast, a reminder of the ancient lineage of our green world, and a pointer towards a more verdant future.


  1. You have such amazing plants. Is it really orange and purple?

  2. I have a chunk of kauri gum, a souvenir of and from my NZ father. Yours looks a little like our yellowwood trees, but with a funky colour scheme.

  3. Remarkable, Faisal. Looks more like a succulent than a tree. Sure you're not having us on, you trickster you.

  4. nature is amazing... your tree is impressing...
    and i love the name of your (then) dog : )

  5. Hi Faisal, what persistence, to grow such a tree from seed. I'm so pleased that commonsense prevailed. While it might have made a great photo, I would miss your cyberspace presence if you would have fallen off the ladder. cheers, catmint
    P.S. why did Ulysses get such a literary name and not Sara? Couldn't you have at least called her Joyce?

  6. Hi James, I don't know if I'd call it orange and purple...the new growth is this honey colour, and it's some of the old growth that can get a wine-coloured tinge.

    Hi Diana, yes, it IS funky. The Queensland Kauri is closely related to New Zealand's.

    Dave, maybe your fading sunlight is affecting your eyesight...

    Thanks, Demie, Kauri's one of my top few favourite trees.

    Hi Catmint. Yeah, my next post might have been coming in several months from a repatriation clinic. "Joyce" - I don't believe it! Both dogs I tried to give names that felt right.

  7. this tree is so amazing. i can't wait to see the flora (and fauna) of australia next year!

  8. Travel's amazing, Velma, for seeing things in whole new ways. A hope you have a marvellous time. I'm sure it will feed into your work.

  9. Ulysses'
    what a cracking name for a dog
    could you post a photo of him?

  10. Johm, I've only got non-digital photos of Ulysses. If I can scan them or convert them to digital, I'd be only too happy to post them. He was a cracker of a dog, too.