About 20 species of broadleaf, evergreen conifers, large trees, trunk columnar and often free of branches below the crown of mature trees; branches are often horizontal and leave circular scars on the trunk after they fall. Bark is thick, scaly, and a milky sap flows from wounds and hardens in air. Leaves are alternate to opposite, simple, lanceolate to elliptic to ovate, short petiole and leathery; coppery red when young. Juvenile leaves larger than adult leaves. Female cones globose, ripening the second year. Mostly native to the South Pacific, found in Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Fiji, Philippines and Malaysia.
agathis: a ball of thread, a reference to the appearance of the catkin of female trees