Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

New Zealand: Kahikatea

with 8 comments

The little reserve in central Christchurch known as Riccarton Bush is home to some trees known botanically as Dacrycarpus dacrydioides, in Māori as kahikatea, and in English as white pine. Unlike the many imported species of pine covering so much of New Zealand, this tree is native. In fact, as you can see from the plaque at the end of this post, the kahikatea is the tallest native tree in the country.

The roots of some of the venerable kahikatea trees I saw on March 1st were impressive. Judging from what I’ve found on the Internet, I haven’t been alone in photographing these very ones:

Here’s an informational plaque that stands in Riccarton Bush:

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 6, 2017 at 4:59 AM

8 Responses

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  1. The roots don’t look like they belong to a pine. They look more like cypress: although cypress roots never would be that green. It’s interesting, and probably reasonable, that this tallest tree also would have the longest horizontal roots. That’s a lot of tree to keep upright!

    The green, serpentine roots remind me of an eel or mythological snake.

    shoreacres

    June 6, 2017 at 10:55 PM

    • While the English name is white pine, in fact the tree isn’t in the pine family but the podocarp family:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podocarpaceae

      We don’t have any members of that family in the United States, nor are there any in England, so I imagine English settlers in New Zealand carried over the familiar name “pine” for these trees that are at least in the same botanical order (Pinales).

      I like your vision of a mythological green snake.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 6, 2017 at 11:56 PM

  2. There is a vast national park in Ecuador’s southern Andes that bears the name of the Podocarpus! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podocarpus_National_Park

    • That sounds like a great place: ‘Botanical Garden of America.’ You’re fortunate to have so much nature around you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 8, 2017 at 9:29 PM

  3. I forgot to mention – that is a great photo!


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