You are here: Home» Membership» NZFFA Member Blogs

NZFFA Member Blogs

Member Blogs

Recent blogs:

Radiata pine not Pinus radiata

Wink Sutton's Blog
Friday, November 29, 2013

When I first joined forestry in the late fifties, radiata pine was regularly called either insignis pine or by its botanical name, Pinus insignis. It was not uncommon for the public to accept that radiata and insignis were two separate pine species. At the beginning of my career Douglas fir had the botanical name of Pseudosuga taxifolia. Later Douglas fir was renamed as Pseudosuga menziesii.

Our indigenous species are not free from botanical name changes. Matai used to be assigned the botanical name of Podocarpus spicatus, later it was reclassified as Prumnoptys taxifolia. Miro was once classified as Podocarpus ferrugineus but has now been reclassified as Prumnoptys ferruginea.

In theory common names might change while scientific botanical names would remain constant. As the examples above show the opposite is generally true. Although the botanical names for radiata, Douglas fir, miro and matai have changed, their common name has remained unchanged.

American foresters became so frustrated with changes in scientific names that all major tree species were assigned common names. These were meant to be names that would remain constant and independent of any change in the scientific or botanical name. For example Pinus radiata was given the common name of Monterey pine, Acer saccharum was given the common name of sugar maple.

Why do we not follow the American example and assign standard common names to our major tree species? I prefer that radiata be called radiata pine and not Pinus radiata − who knows when or if the tree species might be assigned a different scientific or botanic name. When writing the botanic name the convention is that it either be underlined or written in italics as Pinus radiata. The genus name should be begin with a capital, with the species in lower case.

Editor’s note –The subject of tree species names is continued in the article about cypress name changes on page 42 of this issue of Tree Grower .

One post

Post from Rowland Burdon on May 29, 2014 at 11:42AM

Wink Sutton’s note in your November 2013 issue on common versus botanical names has been brought to my attention. Unfortunately, common names for tree species are often far from standardised, except in closely defined contexts. Actually if we were to adopt his precept of following the American example closely, we would run with Monterey pine (which he has actually mentioned) for radiata. However, even in the US, there can be regional common names for widely distributed species.

Relying on common names can be downright treacherous where they vary regionally. A classic example is reputedly the extensive early planting of the notably useless Eucalyptus ovata in Whaka Forest and doubtless many other places in New Zealand.The story is that the Lands Department thought they were ordering seed of E. regnans, which was called swamp gum in one Australian state, but ordered from another state which used that common name for E. ovata.

One other, small point. For repeated mention, P. radiata is more compact typographically than radiata pine.

Botanical classifications and names can certainly be subject to revision, but that can be covered by widely accessible documents which cross-reference botanical and common names. Such a document has existed and been updated in the NZ Institute of Forestry Forestry Handbook in successive editions since 1977. It could be extended to flag the areas of recent revision and unresolved disputes.

Rowland Burdon, Emeritus Scientist, Genetics, Scion

Collective marketing of Tasmanian blackwood?

Wink Sutton's Blog
Friday, August 30, 2013

This year’s Farm Forestry AGM was held in the Lower North region. On one of the field day’s we visited Audrey Hay’s farm. While admiring a maturing stand of Tasmanian blackwood, Acacia melanoxylon, Alan Laurie raised the subject of collective marketing.

The largest resource of blackwood is in south Westland where more than a thousand hectares were established by the Forest Service. Blackwood was planted as a special purpose timber to be a replacement for rimu when supplies became limited. Other than the south Westland resource, farm forests appear to almost have a monopoly on the supply of blackwood. Alan proposed there was a strong case for collective marketing. New Zealand imports a small amount of Tasmanian blackwood and is prepared to pay very high prices for the privilege. Alan Laurie has seen a report suggesting that the best clear grades sawn and dried currently may sell for ‘$5,000 a cubic metre’. There is probably or soon will be enough blackwood in farm forestry woodlots to supply the country with most, and probably all, of its future annual needs.

The problem is how to achieve supply co-ordination. The present system of random selling could be depriving farm forest owners of high prices. But with supply co-ordination there may not be the freedom to sell exactly when the forest owner wishes. If there was a central register of suppliers, sales could be planned to ensure maximum prices were achieved. Buyers would tender, but in return would be guaranteed supply. The grower, as well as the nation, should benefit.

A guarantee of supply for five or 10 years should attract competitive bids from sawmillers and marketers. Forest owners may not be able to market their trees exactly at the time they wish but the prices obtained could be greater than currently expected.

Blackwood appears to be an ideal tree species with which to begin collective marketing. The timber has the obvious market advantage of being in limited supply but appears to be in constant demand. Demand may increase slightly if a constant supply is guaranteed and imports of blackwood timber are very expensive. The New Zealand Farm Forestry Association could explore how collective marketing of blackwood could be achieved.

No posts yet

Disclaimer: Personal views expressed in this blog are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent those of the NZ Farm Forestry Association.

Farm Forestry - Headlines

Article archive »