- Conifer, broadleaf evergreen tree, may reach 100-160 ft (30-50 m) high, large trunk, some 3-23 ft (1-4 m) in diameter and very cylindrical, little visible taper. Branches are often in whorls and horizontal spreading. They are shed at a basal abscission layer soon after their foliage dies. In large trees the first branch is often 50 ft (15 m) or more above the ground. Bark is blue-gray, thick, and shed in large plates. It is very resinous, produces a gum (amber) in large amounts. Leaves variable, alternate to opposite or nearly so, erect on young plants, lanceolate, 5-10 cm long and 1 cm wide, leathery, short stalked. On older plants, leaves are oblong, 2-3.5 cm long and densely arranged. Plant usually monoecious, male and female cones on a single plant. Male (pollen) cones are cylindrical, 2-5 cm long and female (seed) cones are woody, globose, 8-10 cm thick.
- Sun, part shade, best in free draining soil, slow growing, may stay in the juvenile pyramidal shape for more than 50 years
- Hardy to USDA Zone 9 (subtropical) Native to the North Island of New Zealand.
Kauri dieback: This is a serious disease of the kauri trees of New Zealand which is caused by a soil borne fungal-like microorganism, Phytophthora agathidicida. (agathidicida: Latin, agathid, for Agathis, the kauri genus, and -cide, derived from cadere to kill; hence a “kauri killer”). It is not known when the microorganism arrived in New Zealand, but a high tree mortality rate and rapid speed of the disease since 2016 suggests a recent arrival. Disease symptoms can include rot in roots and around the tree base, bleeding resin, yellowing of leaves, defoliation, and finally, death. There is no established treatment for infected trees. To reduce the spread of the microorganism some kauri forests have been closed to the public. The disease is threatening kauri with extinction, and the loss could occur within three decade. The indigenous people of New Zealand, the Māori, know this tree as Tāne Mahuta, lord of the forest, and it has a pivotal role in their creation story and its loss is considered a threat to Māori identity itself. The Māori are leaders in the conservation and protection of the species, hopeful that such efforts will buy time for the development of a cure.