One of the noblest evergreen trees in that noblest of collections of such plants contained in the Temperate House at Kew, is the subject of the present note. Some months since cones were observed to be forming on this tree, and a representation of which we are now enabled, through the courtesy of Mrs. Dyer, to lay before our readers. We are not aware whether the tree has previously produced cones at Kew, though we have the impression that such is the case; at any rate it has done so elsewhere, as recorded in the Flore des Serres, 1856, p. 75, but fertile seed was not yielded, owing to the absence of pollen.
In this country the tree is only valuable for its massive aspect and richly colored thick evergreen leaves, borne on successive tiers of branches, which render it specially suitable for the decoration of winter gardens, corridors, and such like situations, where no great amount of heat is required. In the northern island of New Zealand, however, it is quite another matter, for there, where it is known as the Kauri Pine, it furnishes the most valuable of timbers, as may be judged from the fact that the trunk of the tree attains a height of from 50 to 100 feet clear of the branches; moreover, it yields a gum resin like copal, which exudes from the trunk, and which is sometimes found below ground in the vicinity of the trees, thus giving the clew to the real nature of amber and other similar substances.
The Kauri Pine
The timber is of slow growth, especially valuable for the construction of masts of ships, its durability, strength, and elasticity rendering it particularly suitable for this purpose, and Laslett speaks of it as one of the best woods for working that the carpenter can take in hand, and recommends its use for the decks of yachts, for cabin panels, for joiner's work generally, or for ornamental purposes. Owing to the difficulty and expense of working the forests, and the great distance, comparatively little of it comes to this country.--The London Gardeners' Chronicle.