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


Libocedrus bidwillii (Mountain Cedar)

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Cupressaceae
Genus: Libocedrus
Species: L. bidwillii
Binomial name: Libocedrus bidwillii
Common names: Kaikawaka, Mountain cedar, Pahautea,

Libocedrus bidwillii is a species of Libocedrus, endemic to New Zealand on both the North and South Islands; on the North Island, it occurs from Te Aroha southward. It grows at 250–1,200 m altitude in temperate rainforests. \
It is an evergreen pyramidal coniferous tree growing to 25 m tall, with a trunk up to 1.5 m diameter.  It is present on Mt Taranaki/Mt Egmont
The foliage is arranged in flattened sprays; the leaves are scale-like, 1.5–2 mm long and 1 mm broad, arranged in opposite decussate pairs on the shoots. The seed cones are cylindrical, 8–12 mm long, with four scales each with a prominent curved spine-like bract; they are arranged in two opposite decussate pairs around a small central columella; the outer pair of scales is small and sterile, the inner pair large, bearing two winged seeds. They are mature about six to eight months after pollination. The pollen cones are 2.5–5 mm long.

Libocedrus bidwillii has dark red, light but very durable timber with a straight but rather short grain and uniform texture without any variegation. It is readily split into thin slabs and its durability is shown by its successful use for shingles and weatherboards in earlier times; but it cannot be used for beams or floor joists because of its brittle nature. In all these characters it is similar to the Californian Redwood.

Photographed roadside North Egmont road. (click to enlarge)


A  Libocedrus bidwillii with the typical pyramidal shape. Photographed Westcoast ,South Island


 

Brown opened seed cones.


Libocedrus bidwillii trunk


A juvenile tree


A distribution map of Libocedrus bidwillii by L.Metcalf 2002