When the black kauri grows into a large tree, the bark is brown with loose flakes and the tree can be confused with bull kauri (Agathis microstachya). Smaller trees however have a distinctive black, purple or navy blue bark which is smoother and only slightly flaky. Resin oozes out from wounds in the trunk and branches. The leaves are lanceolate with a pointed tip and fine longitudinal veins. The male cones have a short stalk and are up to 3 centimetres (1.2 in) long. The female cones are larger, green when young and have 90–150 scales.
Distribution and habitat
The black kauri is endemic to the coastal ranges of north east Queensland. It is typically found growing in rain forest on mountain ridges composed of igneous rocks such as granite and rhyolite at heights of 750 to 1,500 metres (2,460 to 4,920 ft) above sea level. Its range extends from Mount Pieter Botte south to Mount Bartle Frere. The forest is rich in vines, ferns, mosses and bryophytes. Other trees often growing in the same area as the black kauri are the pimply ash (Balanops australiana), the quandongs (Elaeocarpus spp.), the tree heath (Trochocarpa bellendenkerensis) and myrtles (Uromyrtus spp).
The black kauri is listed as being "Near Threatened" in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. In places where logging is allowed its numbers have declined but it is now protected in many parts of its range. One such place where it can be seen is the Wurunuru National Park.
- Hyland, B. P. M.; Whiffin, T.; Zich, F. A.; et al. (Dec 2010). "Factsheet – Agathis atropurpurea". Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants. Edition 6.1, online version [RFK 6.1]. Cairns, Australia: Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), through its Division of Plant Industry; the Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research; the Australian Tropical Herbarium, James Cook University. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- "Regional ecosystem details for 7.12.19". Queensland Government: Department of Environment and Heritage Protection). Retrieved 2012-09-17.
- Conifer Specialist Group (1998). "Agathis atropurpurea". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
- "Agathis atropurpurea". The Gymnosperm Database. 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-20.