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A: Melaleuca, a genus of around 170 species in the Myrtle
family (Myrtaceae). The majority of species are endemic to Australia but several occur to the north (e.g. Indonesia,
New Guinea, New Caledonia, Malaysia).
Today, tea tree oil, which has antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti fungal properties, is commercially extracted
from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia. Cajeput oil, which is used in medicine, is extracted from the
leaves of Melaleuca leucadendra and M. cajuputi. Essential oils are extracted from Melaleuca linearifolia.
Melaleuca are commonly known as "Paperbarks" in the tree forms and "Honey Myrtles" in the smaller
forms. These names refer to the flaky bark of many species and the nectar produced in the flowers. The term "Tea
Tree" is also applied occasionally by this is more commonly used with the related genus Leptospermum.
Melaleuca is closely related to Callistemon ("Bottlebrushes") and differs from that genus in the way
that the stamens are connected to the floral tube
Paperbark maintains a more constant temperature for the bulk of the tree trunk. The bark provides good insulation
against fire. Paperbark smolders rather than burning. Indigenous peoples sometimes used it for cooking, as we use
steamers today, and for storing food. It was also used for bandages, bedding, fire tinder, water craft, fish traps,
and for wrapping corpses. They also used it in place of wrapping paper, mattresses, containers, toilet paper, and
roof tiles. Some peoples used it for swaddling babies, for patching canoes, as a fire tray and as shelters. Some
Aboriginal women used it to make dress-barks. The early settlers used the bark for patching their huts, as trays,
and in place of products we now make of cardboard. Today, some people use paperbark in place of foil for barbecuing
fish. Paperbark is also used to line hanging baskets, for a more natural look.
Melaleuca viridiflora, the Broad-leaved Melaleuca,
occurs across the tropical north of Australia. It grows to a height of 10m (30 feet). The trunk and branches are
clothed in thick papery bark, which gives it its common name. Its leaves are amongst the largest in Melaleucas,
up to 10 cm (4 inches) long and 5 cm (2 inches) wide. It has bottle brush type flower spikes, which are greenish-cream,
but can be pink or red. The flowers have showy stamens, and the profuse blooms produce nectar, which is an excellent
food source for native bees, birds and animals, such as flying foxes. It likes sunny positions and tolerates poorly
drained soils. It is used extensively in urban landscaping, because of its tolerance of pollution, salt winds,
saline soils, wet, and even boggy conditions, but prefers well drained conditions. Although it is a warm climate
plant, it will withstand cold if given full sun. It is remarkably free from pests and diseases.
B: Pinus roxburghii, the Himalayan Longleaf
or Chir Pine is native to the Himalayan foothills where it grows to a very large tree up to 50 m tall. However
it is usually smaller in cultivation. It cannot withstand severe drought. It is three-needled and its long drooping
needles are up to 30 cm (12 inches) in length, which only last a year on the tree, the shortest life of any pine
needle. Seed was first imported by the Gardens in 1874
The wood is moderately hard, very resinous and can be splintered and used as a torch.
A charcoal made from the leaves, mixed with rice water, is used as ink.
Wood -. Used for construction, shingles, boxes etc. It is useful in cold climates but is not resistant to white
C: Pinus nigra var. laricio, is often referred to as the
European Black Pine, and has received a substantial number of described names .It is also
known as var. maritima and is the Corsican Pine. It comes from Corsica, Italy, and the south of France.
P. nigra is widely used in Europe and the US as an ornamental, and in forestry for shelter belts, and for
timber production in areas too cold for the faster growing but warmer requiring species. It is very tolerant of
chalk and limestone, and also of urban pollution - perhaps the most pollution-tolerant of any pine. It was one
of the earliest European pines imported into the United States in 1759, and is now one of the most commonly introduced
ornamentals in the US.. It is a widespread and important timber producing tree in Central and Southern Europe,
and continues to be popular as a Christmas tree in the US.
It has a very straight trunk, which makes it suitable for timber, with whitish-brown cracking bark. In Corsica
the trees take 180 years to reach maturity, but in NZ only 50. It has gray-green twisted needles in pairs, about
7 inches long (17 cm), and small cones about 3 inches long (7 cm).
D: Eucalyptus pilularis , the Blackbutt Gum
distribution favours warm humid climatic conditions. Eucalyptus pilularis grows from Fraser Island in southeast
Queensland to the south coast of NSW. Annual rainfall range, 900-1750 mm. Altitude range, near sea level-300 m
in the south of its range, and up to 600 m in the north. It belongs to the stringy bark group
Found in the coastal plains and nearby lower ranges, between sea and escarpment of New South Wales and southern
Queensland. An important commercial hardwood in eastern Australia.
Occasionally grows very tall long straight trunk, often black in colour at the base if the tree has experienced
Bark is rough, fibrous and spongy at the base, shedding in strips higher up the trunk leaving a smooth grayish
white surface above.
E: Pinus radiata
Thomas Coulter at Monterey, California first noted Pinus radiata, in 1830.
Monterey pine (Pinus radiata) is the most widely planted pine in the world. Rapid growth
and desirable lumber and pulp qualities cause it to be the leading introduced species in Australia, New Zealand,
and Spain and a major species in plantations of Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Kenya, and the Republic of South Africa.
In these countries, Monterey pine is a mainstay of the forest economy, serving internal markets, generating valuable
foreign exchange reserves as an export, and reducing cutting pressure on native forests.
Pinus radiata D. Don shows great variability between individual trees. This genetic variation as scientists have
shown, gives the species the potential for genetic improvement through selective breeding'. This has been achieved
in New Zealand, where naturalized stocks have formed the base of an elaborate and scientifically based selection
programme. While intensive breeding began around 1950, the story of genetic improvement in New Zealand begins with
the introduction of the species.
Zealand's prosperity has depended for many years on the export of
timber. The New Zealand industry was from the start firmly based on
the kauri tree, although other natives where also important. Captain
James Cook, on his first visit (1768-1771) to this country, wrote a
glowing report about "the great
length of the trees, growing straight as an arrow and tapered very
little in proportion to their length."
With the loss of the American colonies, Britain had lost its main
source of timber, especially that suitable for masts and spars, and
Cook's reports provided a solution, especially when he reported that
NZ was covered by timber of a “size
and every quality that indicates long duration; it grows close to the
waters edge and may be easily obtained.”
Cook felled and pit sawed into planks the first tree on his second
voyage (1772 - 1775). The earliest European extraction, however,
occurred when Marc-Joseph Marion du Fresne's men hauled a large tree
trunk out of the bush in the Bay of Islands in 1772. The first export
shipment of timber was dispatched from the country in October 1794,
but domestic demand took the earlier production.
timber extraction, bullocks where brought in to the country in 1820,
and over the next 40 years with improved extraction methods the
indigenous stands of timber disappeared altogether from many areas,
and became seriously depleted in others. Scholefield noted that in
1871 over three million board feet (1 board foot = approximately 30cm
wide, 2.5cm thick and 30cm long) of timber were exported, but by 1891
this had increased to fourty two million board feet. At that time
there were reported to be some 250 sawmills processing native trees
throughout the colony.
1870 James Hector made the following statement in reply to a question
from the Government “the
rapid destruction of the native forests I consider to be most
wasteful, and is having the effect of rapidly reducing the natural
resources of the country”. His
concern on this issue had been one of the reasons for the earlier
establishment of this Garden and the need to find suitable trees to
replace the increasingly depleted native stock, especially with the
increasing population giving rise to expanding demand for timber and
firewood, which could no longer be met from the indigenous stock
of the tussock covered land, especially the Canterbury Plains,
lacking trees, where found by the earliest settlers to require trees
for firewood and to provide shelter from prevailing winds for stock
and homesteads. The first significant tree planting are believed to
have been by anonymous settlers and transients, especially gold
miners returning from the Californian gold fields, who brought with
them seeds of trees they found there, especially Pinus
radiata and Cypresses
macrocarpa although this is not
Acland on Mt. Peel Station in the Canterbury foothills is credited
with the first documented importation of Pinus radiata
in 1859. The first milling of radiata was
reported by a Canterbury man (unfortunately undated), indicating
likely confirmation of the early planting of radiata in
1865 Shepherd states both Alfred Ludlam and Thomas Mason had
established Pinus radiata in Wellington and it is likely that
they could have made plantings of this tree in the Garden from about
this time, although no documentary proof of this has been discovered.
There are a number of recorded introductions throughout the country
in the early 1860's. Ludlam in particular appears to have had a
significant collection of pine species, although Mason also had a
number. Ludlam is recorded as receiving radiata material in
1863, Mason in 1865, and Hector in 1868/69. It is understood that
following the appointment of James Hector as Scientific Advisor to
the Central Government in 1865 work was being done in the Garden by
these individuals and John Buchanan before its formal establishment
in 1868. Hector is likely to have seen the tree growing in various
parts of the country, and realising how successful radiata
appeared to be establishing in the country, subsequently lead to
the importation of large quantities of Pinus radiata seed and
plants to the Garden at the end of the decade and 1870's. Plants and
seed where subsequently distributed throughout the country, to
individuals, public gardens and acclimatisation societies, eventually
providing the 'parents' of New Zealand's radiata forest
industry, confirmed by recent DNA analysis of specimens still in the
radiata provided many advantages
– it grows straight, grows rapidly, is easy to handle, grows well
in plantations, is adaptable to most NZ conditions, and provides wood
that is remarkably versitile. Its seeds can be collected throughout
the year, it transplants easily and requires little care thereafter,
responding well to pruning and thinning and can readily be treated
with preservatives. Its ability to produce a high quality long fibred
pulp adds to its value. Genetically variable it responds well to
selective breeding improvement.
It is an important timber tree in several parts of the world, and the number one timber tree in NZ.
in a nutshell is the success story of Pinus radiata. This
garden played a central role, meeting its founding objective as a
'colonial garden' to facilitate the establishment of the forestry
industry. Pioneers like Hector, Ludlam and Mason amongst others
deserve full recognition for the crucial role they played in the
introduction of this tree in particular, a tree on which the
countries prosperity still depends on to such a significant degree
Often seen in this area under the pines in autumn is the red toadstool Amanita muscaria a poisonous mycorhizal
partner growing on pine roots.
This has worldwide distribution, and is the toadstool of fairy tale fame in European literature. It is small but
a giant to 'the little people'.
F: Sequoiadendron giganteum the
The Giant Sequioa is a true giant of a tree.
It comes from the moist mountain slopes at 1400-2400 m (4500-7500 feet)
on the western side of the Sierra Nevada Range in central California,
limited to 75 scattered groves. Old trees over 3000 years old have been
identified with the General Sherman tree in California estimated to be
3,800 years old.
Like Douglas Fir natural root grafting is common. Although it does not
grow quite as tall as the Californian Coast Redwood it is far more
heavily built and contains the greatest timber volume of any tree. It
can grow to 84 m (275 feet) with a trunk up to 13m (40 feet) in
diameter at the base. Its reddish brown bark is thick, soft and spongy,
which helps to protect it from fire and frost, and also contains tannin
that helps to protect the tree from fungus and insects. The bark also
has little resin in it compared with pine and spruce, which also helps
to make it more resistant to fire. The coarse-grained, very light,
soft, rather brittle timber is very durable, and a single tree could
provide enough timber for 40 five-room houses. Fortunately this fate
does not befall these wonderful trees because they are very rare, and
they are protected in US State and Federal National Parks and Forests.
Trees of ‘Wellingtonias’ were amongst the first planted in the Garden
in the winter of 1871, with a further 24 a short time later.
This species is the biggest (but not the tallest) tree in the world and
can weigh up to 2000 tonnes. Cones take 2 years to mature. In its
native habitat the cones are retained on the tree with viable seed for
up to 30 years[. The cones open after the heat of a forest fire
G: Pseudotsuga menziesii, Douglas Fir/Oregon
Pine, one of the leading timber trees of the world that produces very fine quality timber.
In North America the red cedar was central to the Native American society, and Douglas Fir became equally essential
to the white pioneer society. It became the 'money tree', providing lumber for immediate needs, and could be shipped
around the country for construction use. It became the fundamental resource of many pioneer towns and the basis
of their economy. It occupied vast tracks along western North America occupying the greatest range of any commercial
conifer, being found from northern Mexico to Southeast Alaska. There were extensive old growth groves of giant
trees, some of which were 1000 years old. Most of the old trees have been felled, but vast areas have been planted
in this fir in New Zealand, Australia, Chile, Argentina, Scotland and Germany. It produces the largest trees of
the Pinaceae family.
This tree grows in areas with marked seasonality. The summer and winter growth rings produce alternate bands of
soft and hard wood, which gives immense strength, producing a natural 'plywood' effect. Large beams and similar
structural elements utilise this timber characteristic. Imported Douglas Fir is superior for this reason to the
home grown product.
The tree can live for over 1000 years and trees aged up to 1400 years have been identified.
H: Pinus pinea the Mediterranean Stone Pine
also known in older publications as the umbrella pine (obsolete). Sciadopitys verticillata is also known as Umbrella
pine, more correctly as the Japanese Umbrella Pine.
The tree has an interesting and distinctive flattened crown like an umbrella, and a straight though often leaning
trunk. It can cope with extremes of heat and drought, though it is often stunted in the wild. Its globe-like cones
are shiny brown. The bark is reddish-gray and furrowed. It can reach a height of 25 m (80 feet).
It is found from Portugal to Syria, although originally is thought to have come from the Iberian Peninsula, the
only area where it is found away from the main trade routes, being introduced into many areas by primitive man.
Pinus pinea was the first pine used and cultivated by man, its edible seeds having been harvested for perhaps
half a million years or more. Its seeds have been used for food by prehistoric man, shells being found at many
prehistoric sites, and are believed to have been widely traded..
The tree has been cultivated for well over 6,000 years, and possibly for 12,000 to 15,000 years. It is commonly
found along the old trade routes. It continues to be widely cultivated through the Mediterranean area, the richly
flavoured seeds essential for many Portuguese, Spanish and Italian recipes
In ancient Rome a wine was made from the nuts and evidence from Pompii indicated it was widely used in cooking.
The Romans referred to it as the 'Domestic Pine'.
The seed is a good size, up to 20 mm x 10 mm, and is a major source of pinenuts in commerce. The protein content
of some pine nuts exceeds that of all other commercial nuts except the cashews, and is comparable to that of beefsteak.
The protein quality is also very high. Each cone produces approximately 50 nuts, and a pure stand will produce
500 kg cones per hectare per year, which will give around 100 kg of nuts. The nuts are protected by a very hard
shell, but can be released by placing them in a warm oven where they will split open.
I: Pinus pinaster the Maritime Pine,
or Cluster Pine in older publications, is native of the western Mediterranean, North Africa,
Spain France and the West Coast of Italy, Corsica, Sardine and Malta.. It is a rapidly growing tree to 30 m (100
feet). It does not like drought and frost but does like coastal conditions, and provides good shelter. The maritime
pine has beautiful bark, bright reddish- brown, and deeply furrowed in a jigsaw pattern. It produces large heavy
needles in bundles of 2. During 1871/72 52 trees were planted in the Garden.
It has attractive cones that are oval, curved, and pointed at one end, and are prized for Christmas decorations
in Europe. It is often grown in sand dune country in Europe, and is used for coastal stabilisation in western France
and is the main spices in the largest man-made forest in the world at Les Landes SW France, covering an area of
900,000 ha. It was planted for land reclamation purposes to consolidate a large area of shifting sand dunes.
It is important for the production of turpentine, resin and timber and is planted widely as a timber species in
Portugal. It has been planted in Western Australia in areas with lower rainfall and poorer soils where P. radiata
is not suitable.
A useful pulpwood tree and used for the production of fibreboards. Often planted as a shelterbelt along exposed
coasts and also to stabilise sandy soils. It is very tolerant of maritime exposure, but may require staking when
it is young.