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New Zealand Rimu

                                         New Zealand Rimu


   Rimu [Dacrydium cupressinum) is a large evergreen coniferous tree native to the forests of New Zealand. It is also known as “red pine”, although this name is misleading since it is not a pine, and other trees also have the same name.

Rimu grows throughout New Zealand, on the North Island, South Island and Stewart Island.Rimu matures at around 400 years old and can grow up to 1000 years old ,although most trees are now found on the West Coast of the South Island.

The tree can grow as high as 50 m tall, though most surviving large trees are 20-35 m tall. Male and female cones grow on separate trees, and the fertilised seeds are held on the female tree for 15 months. The breeding cycle of the Kakapo has been linked to rimu’s fruiting cycle.

Historically, Rimu and other native trees such as Kauri and Totara were the main sources of wood for New Zealand, including furniture and house construction. However, many of New Zealand’s original stands of Rimu have been destroyed, and recent government policies forbid the felling of Rimu in public forests, though allowing limited logging on private land. Pinus radiata has now replaced Rimu in most industries, although Rimu remains popular for the production of high quality wooden furniture.

Captain James Cook made spruce beer from its young branches as a remedy for scurvy,the scourge of long voyages of his day.The Maoris used its bark and gum for medicinal purposes and made torches from strips of timber         

Balding early European settlers tried the juice from its stems as a hair restorer