Dacrydium cupressinum. Rimu.
"... this fruit is much prized by the natives, and the smallness of the size is made up by its abundance; this tree produces a resin very bitter, but eatable. The wood also possesses the same qualities, an infusion might be used for beer" (Taylor 1847)
Fruit eaten, found in abundance every other season.(Taylor 1855).
When first introduced, molasses thought to be the sap of the rimu. In boiling maize, some ashes of burned rimu or kahikatea bark are cast into the pot. This peels off the skin of the maize. Ashes of these barks used, because they do not grit between the teeth when the maize is eaten. ( Best 1902).
Often used by tanner, valued for certain qualities of leather, but imparts a red colour to the skin (Kirk 1889)
Brown dye (Wall, Cranwell 1943)
Fishing and hunting
Heartwood used for making hunting spears (Matthews 1911).
Among Ngapuhi, soot from burning heartwood of rimu or kauri used mixed with shark-oil to make black paint for canoes. Timber used in canoe making. (Best 1925)
The resin is slightly sweet and bitter, and , if wounded, emits a black bitter gum; the fragrance of the wood, when burnt as fuel, is extremely pleasant. (Taylor 1855).
Juice used as hair restorer by Europeans (Bell 1890).
Wallace 1989 found 2 fernroot beaters, 1 maul, 8 adze helves, 2 hoto, 20 combs made of rimu among museum artefacts he tested.
IIn South Westland, in the estuaries at Maitahi and Makawhio, flounders were speared in big numbers, often at night with the aid of rama (torches) made from the resinous heart of the rimu tree (Madgwick 1992)
Timber tree. Housing, cabinetmaking (Colenso 1868a). (N.B. - Details on colonial timber uses generally not recorded in database.)
Gum is very astringent. (Best 1906).
Piece of gum the size of a walnut dissolved in half-pint of water, a tablespoon taken three times a day to allay bleeding from lungs or bowels, stomach or headache. "This I have seen used myself and can speak in the highest praise of it - it stopped a severe attack of bleeding from the lungs." (O"Carroll 1884; see also Adams 1945)
The excessively astringent gum is used as a styptic (Mason 1941)
Inner bark - styptic (Bell 1890).
The inner bark is applied to burns and scalds and acts as a styptic (Mason 1941)
Leaves. A lotion for wounds made with rimu and tawa bark and tutu leaves, boiled together (Best 1907).
Spruce beer made with rimu and mānuka used by Captain Cook as an antiscorbutic. See recipe in Shortland 1851.
A preparation of the leaves is used for sores. (Mason 1941)
Related pharmacology in Brooker, Cambie and Cooper, 1987.
Wallace 1989 found 5 spinning tops made of rimu among museum artefacts he tested.