Don in Lamb. Pin., ed. 2, App.; Rich., Con., p. 129, t. 3; A. Cunn., Prodr.; Hook., Ic. Plant., t. 549, 550, 551; Endl., Conif., p. 225; Hook. fil., Fl. N.Z., I., 235—Handbook, p. 952; Carr., Conif., p. 449; Gord., Pin., p. 142; Parl. in DC. Prodromus, XVI., pt. II., p. 498.
P. rhomboidalis, A. Rich., Fl. Nov. Zel., p. 363. (not of C. L. Rich.)
A monœcious tree 60 feet high or more, trunk 2–3 feet in diameter, branches whorled, branchlets slender; young leaves linear, crowded, scale leaves acuminate, rachides 1–3 in. long, whorled, cladodia distichous, coriaceous, lobed or toothed, lobes truncate, erose. Fl.: male—amenta in terminal fasciculi of from 5 to 10, shortly pedicelled, scales acuminate; female—amenta solitary on the margin of cladodia, which are often reduced to mere peduncles, one-flowered, cup fleshy, nut much compressed.
Hab. North Island. Frequent in forests from the North Cape to Lake Taupo; less frequent southwards.
South Island: Mr. Travers informs me that this species occurs in the Maitai Valley, Nelson, where it attains the height of forty feet. I have not seen South Island specimens.
This species ranges from the sea-level to 2,500 feet.
It is the tanekaha of the northern natives, and, according to Colenso, the toa-toa of the natives south of the Thames.
It is easily distinguished by its slender twiggy branches and single seeded fruit. It is the loftiest of all the celery pines, in some cases attaining the height of seventy feet, and affording a timber of great strength and durability, capable of being worked with the greatest ease. The bark is valued for tanning and yields a black dye which has long been utilized by the natives.
The young leaves disappear the second year, and their transition to cladodia is somewhat abrupt; from the axils of the uppermost leaves pinnate or pinnatifid leaf-like organs are produced, the first two or three being about an inch in length with the lateral segments deeply laciniate or pinnatifid, but immediately above these others of larger dimensions are quickly produced, three to four inches in length, with the lateral segments acute and deeply laciniated, membranous, and glaucous beneath. These gradually pass into cladodia, which do not become coriaceous until the plant developes its second or third whorl of branches.
In an account of the building timbers of Otago,* Mr. Blair states that
[Footnote] * Trans. N.Z. Inst., IX., p. 163.
this species is common “at high altitudes on the west coast, but rare on the east coast of Otago,” and that “it grows to a height of from fifty to sixty feet, with a straight clear trunk two to three feet in diameter for two-thirds of the distance.” He adds, “A few trees are to be met with in the vicinity of Dunedin,” etc. Unless Mr. Blair has been led astray by the native name tanekaha being misapplied to P. alpina, it is difficult to account for this error, as the present species does not occur in Otago, and P. alpina, although plentiful in the district mentioned by him, is usually little more than a bushy shrub, and never attains dimensions at all approaching those of P. trichomanoides.