Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

New Zealand: Kahikatea

with 9 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

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 6, 2017 at 4:59 AM

9 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  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.


    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:


      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!

  4. Kia Ora Steve, am I able to seek permission to use your photo, I am a Pou Maia community social worker and we are looking at creating a piece of work to describe our bi-cultural framework. My contact details are Jennah.Woods@standforchildren.org.nz

    Nga mihi nui


    August 25, 2019 at 8:08 PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: