T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Dacrydium cupressinum (Rimu, Red Pine)

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Podocarpaceae
Genus: Dacrydium
Species: D. cupressinum
Scientific Name: Dacrydium cupressinum
Common name: Rimu, Red Pine, Huarangi

Rimu is a slow-growing conifer tree, eventually attaining a height of up to 50m although most surviving large trees are 20 to 35m tall. The trunk is usually about 1m but can be as much as 2m in diameter. The bark scales off in large flakes. It typically appears as an emergent from mixed broadleaf temperate rainforest, although there are almost pure stands (especially the west coast of the South Island). The branchlets have a distinctive weeping form, those on young trees being particularly graceful in appearance. The leaves are small and awl-shaped and the mature leaves are fine and sharp. The cones are set at irregular intervals and males and females are on seperate trees.
The large trees can be anything up from 700 to 800 or even 1,000 years old. The European name for rimu, especially in the South Island, is red pine. Timber from rimu has been the main native timber in use since about 1910 when it began to displace kauri. Due to recent government policies of forbidding the felling of rimu in public forests and only allowing limited logging on private land the quantities available will fall rapidly in the next one or two decades as resources become exhausted. The timber of the rimu is comparatively hard and dense and was used in flooring, weatherboards and some furniture.
The small cones (5mm) which form on the end of branchlets of female trees take about 18 months to ripen, and the seeds are produced only every 5 to 6 years.
The red fruit cup that carries the seed is edible. The bitter gum was applied to wounds to stop bleeding and the leaves were used to heal wounds.  Bruised inner bark was applied to burns.

The Rimu forest at Kakapo


The crown of an old mature Rime Westcoast, South Island.
   

A young rimu with its distinctive weeping form

Rimu Leaves

Rimu fruit Photographed North East Taranaki late March.


The fruit of the Rimu


Close up of a drooping branch


The trunk of a Rimu


Watermark pattern on an old rimu trunk in the Pureora forest.

A giant trunk of an ancient rimu in the Pureora forest.

Giant ancient rimu in the Pureora forest