Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa
Volume 14, 1881
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Olea cunninghamii, Hook. f.

This is much the largest of the New Zealand species, often attaining the height of 70 feet, with a trunk 3–6 feet in diameter at six feet from the ground, while the principal branches are often of large dimensions. The leaves are rough on both surfaces; in the young state they are linear, 6″–10″ long, 3/8-5/8 wide, acute, gradually passing into the mature form, 3″–6″ long, 1¼–1¾″broad, oblong lanceolate or broadly lanceolate, obtuse or acute. Racemes tomentose, rather shorter than those of O. apetala, pedicels short, spreading at right angles to the rhachis; pistillate flowers with two sessile staminodia. Drupe ½″-⅔″ long, ovoid, narrowed upwards, red.

This species occurs from the North Cape to Cook Strait, but is most plentiful in the southern part of the North Island, attaining its greatest dimensions in the south-eastern portion of the Wellington district. At Pakuratahi I measured five trees growing within a short distance of each other, with the following results:—

Height of Tree. Trunk. Girth at 5 feet from the base.
No. 1. 70 feet 20 feet 7 inches
" 2. 50 " 12 13 " 4 "
(With six large arms averaging from 15 to 20 feet long, and 5 feet in circumference at the middle.)
" 3. 60 " 35 4 " 8 "
" 4 50 " 35 6 " 4 "
" 5. 60 " 30 20 " O "
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Above 6 feet from the ground the trunk tapers very gradually, and holds its girth well up to the crown. No. 5 was a magnificent tree; after making all deductions for bark and waste, it must contain over 500 cubic feet of convertible timber.