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Agathis - (Lamb.) Rich.

Common Name Amboina Pine
Family Araucariaceae
USDA hardiness 10-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Mountain forests[ 307 ]. Scattered in lowland rain forests at elevations up to 1,200 metres, though in the Philippines it is reported to grow at elevations up to 2,100 metres[ 320 ].
Range Southeast Asia - Indonesia, Philippines.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Agathis Amboina Pine

Agathis Amboina Pine
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Amboina Pine (Agathis dammara) belongs in the Araucariaceae family. It is a medium-large, tapering, conical shape evergreen tree that grows up to 50 – 65 meters tall and is found in the Philippines and Indonesia. Its bole can be up to 1.8 meters in diameter. Though commonly grown as ornamental, Amboina Pine is also known as a major source of Dammar resin, which is widely used in medicine. The bark is scaly and fibrous and is burnt to repel mosquitoes. The tree has no known edible feature.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Agathis is an evergreen Tree growing to 50 m (164ft) by 15 m (49ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10 and is frost tender. The flowers are pollinated by Wind.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Abies dammara (Lamb.) Poir. Agathis alba (Rumph. ex Hassk.) Foxw. Agathis celebica (Koord.) Warb. Ag

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

None Known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None Known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Agroforestry Uses: It is cultivated as a plantation tree and used in enrichment planting and reforestation schemes in various areas within the natural range[ 325 ]. Other Uses The trunk richly contains the famous dammar resin, which is widely used in industry and medicine[ 266 ]. The resin is graded into hard, semi-hard and soft[ 46 ]. It is used for varnishing enamels and interior work[ 46 ]. The resin used to be an important component of varnish and was used in the production of linoleum[ 325 ]. Much of the quality of the resin depends upon the age of the product since it can be obtained both from living trees or from the soil in semi-fossil condition[ 46 ]. Harvesting of the resin commences when the bole is around 25cm in diameter (approx 20 years old). Triangular cuts (becoming circular with age) are arranged in vertical rows around the trunk. The cuts are several centimetres wide at first, but become enlarged at every tapping and eventually become holes of 15 - 20cm in depth and width. The average number of holes for a tree about 30 metres tall and 60 - 80cm in diameter is 9 - 11 in each of 4 - 5 vertical rows. For the higher holes, the tapper climbs the tree supported by a rattan belt and using the lower holes as footholds. The exuded resin is allowed to dry on the tree before it is collected. The frequency with which the tree is visited to refreshen the cut varies from once a week to once a month, depending on how far the tree is from the village. Tapping can continue for 30 years[ 891 ]. The scaly, fibrous bark is burnt to deter mosquitoes[ 307 ]. The heartwood is a pale cream, golden brown, to dark reddish or yellowish brown if resinous; it is usually not distinct from the sapwood[ 316 ]. The wood is lustrous; the grain mainly straight; texture fine and uniform; generally without distinctive odour or taste[ 316 ]. It is generally not durable, vulnerable to termite attack and prone to blue stain[ 316 ]. It works easily with hand and machine tools, finishes with a clean smooth surface; has good nailing and screwing properties; good veneer peeling characteristics; paints and polishes well; easy to glue[ 316 ]. It is used for a range of purposes, including vats and tanks, patternmaking, millwork, boatbuilding, furniture components, face veneers, shingles and pencil slats[ 316 ]. It is used as a general purpose softwood for construction, boat masts, joinery, household utensils, matches, veneer, packaging, moulding, plywood and pulpwood[ 266 , 325 ].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A plant of the subhumid highlands in the tropics, where it is found at elevations from 300 - 1,600 metres[ 325 , 418 ]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 28 - 34°c, but can tolerate 12 - 38°c[ 418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 2,500 - 3,500mm, but tolerates 2,000 - 4,000mm[ 418 ]. Older trees grow well in sunny positions, but need the shady, sheltered conditions of the woodland when small[ 418 ]. Plants can grow on a variety of soils, including podzolized sands (in heath forest), ultrabasic soils, limestone, igneous and sedimentary rocks[ 325 ]. The root system is sensitive to a lack of oxygen and the species does not tolerate waterlogging[ 325 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 6.5, tolerating 5 - 7.5[ 418 ]. Seedling plants need shade, and growth is slow during the first year. Later, when released from competition from weeds, growth is more rapid[ 325 ]. Trees can commence producing cones when about 15 years old, though viable seeds are not usually produced before they are 25 years old[ 325 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - it cannot tolerate desiccation and does not store for much more than 2 months in normal conditions. It does not require pre-treatment. Sowing is done with the wing part of the seed pointing upwards and 66% of the seed buried in the soil. Germination commences within 6 days, with 90 - 100% germination rates within 10 days[ 325 ]. Cuttings of leading shoots[ 307 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Agathis dammara (Amboina Pitch Tree) Status: Vulnerable A4cd ver 3.1 Pop. trend: decreasing

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Agathis dammaraAmboina PineTree50.0 10-11 MLMHFSNM004
Agathis macrophyllaDakuaTree30.0 10-12 FLMHFSNM004
Agathis mooreiPacific Kauri, Moore KauriTree25.0 10-12 MLMHFSNM104
Agathis robustaQueensland KauriTree45.0 8-11  LMHSNM003

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


(Lamb.) Rich.

Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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