Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

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Podocarpus totara

Podocarpus totara (Totara) is a species of podocarp endemic to New Zealand. It grows throughout the North Island and northeastern portion of the South Island in lowland, montane and lower subalpine forest at 0-480(-600) m elevation. The Totara is a medium to large tree which grows slowly to around 20-25 m, exceptionally to 35 m; it is noted for its longevity and the great girth of its trunk. The bark peels off in papery flakes, with a purplish to golden brown hue. The sharp, dull green needle-like leaves are stiff and leathery, 2 cm long. This plant produces highly modified cones with 2-4 fused, fleshy berry-like juicy scales, bright red when mature. The cone contains one to two rounded seeds at the apex of the scales.

The wood is hard and straight grained and very resistant to rot. Due to its durability, Totara wood was often used for fence posts, floor pilings and railway sleepers. It is also prized for its carving properties, and was the primary wood used in Māori carving.