Araucaria angustifolia

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Araucaria angustifolia
Mature tree
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
(unranked): Gymnosperms
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Araucariaceae
Genus: Araucaria
Section: A. sect. Araucaria
A. angustifolia
Binomial name
Araucaria angustifolia
  • Araucaria angustifolia var. alba Reitz
  • Araucaria angustifolia var. caiova Reitz
  • Araucaria angustifolia var. caiuva Mattos
  • Araucaria angustifolia f. catharinensis Mattos
  • Araucaria angustifolia var. dependens Mattos
  • Araucaria angustifolia var. indehiscens Mattos
  • Araucaria angustifolia var. monoica Reitz
  • Araucaria angustifolia var. nigra Reitz
  • Araucaria angustifolia var. sancti-josephi Reitz
  • Araucaria angustifolia var. semialba Reitz
  • Araucaria angustifolia var. stricta Reitz
  • Araucaria angustifolia var. vinacea Mattos
  • Araucaria brasiliana A.Rich.
  • Araucaria brasiliana var. gracilis Carrière
  • Araucaria brasiliana var. ridolfiana (Pi.Savi) Gordon
  • Araucaria brasiliana var. saviana (Parl.) Parl.
  • Araucaria brasiliensis Loudon (Spelling variant)
  • Araucaria brasiliensis A. Rich.
  • Araucaria brasiliensis var. saviana (Parl.) Parl.
  • Araucaria dioica (Vell.) Stellfeld
  • Araucaria elegans Carrière[2]
  • Araucaria ridolfiana Pi.Savi
  • Araucaria saviana Parl.
  • Columbea angustifolia Bertol. (basionym)
  • Columbea brasiliana (A.Rich.) Carrière
  • Columbea brasiliana var. elegans Carrière
  • Columbea brasiliana var. ridolfiana (Pi.Savi) Carrière
  • Columbea brasiliensis var. ridolfina (Pi. Savi) Carrière
  • Pinus dioica Vell.

Araucaria angustifolia, the Paraná pine, Brazilian pine or candelabra tree (pinheiro-do-paraná, araucária or pinheiro brasileiro), is a critically endangered species in the conifer genus Araucaria. Although the common names in various languages refer to the species as a "pine", it does not belong in the genus Pinus.

Origin and taxonomy[edit]

The genus Araucaria was part of terrestrial flora since the Triassic and found its apogee in Gondwana. Today, it is restricted to the Southern Hemisphere and has 19 species.[3]


The shape of young Parana Pines is very similar to young Monkey-Puzzle Trees (Araucaria araucana). Mature trees are flat and look like Monkey Puzzle Trees but branching closely resembles Bunya Pines (Araucaria bidwillii), 9,000 miles away.


Covering an original area of 233,000 square kilometres (90,000 sq mi),[4] it has now lost an estimated 97% of its habitat to logging, agriculture, and silviculture.[1]

Araucaria angustifolia in Campos do Jordão

It is native to southern Brazil (also found in high-altitude areas of southern Minas Gerais, in central Rio de Janeiro and in the east and south of São Paulo, but more typically in the states of Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul). According to a study made by the Brazilian researcher Reinhard Maack, the original area of occurrence represented 36.67% of the Paraná state (73,088 km2 or 28,219 sq mi), 60.13% of the Santa Catarina state (57,332 km2 or 22,136 sq mi), 21.6% of the São Paulo state (53,613 km2 or 20,700 sq mi) and 17.38% of the Rio Grande do Sul state (48,968 km2 or 18,907 sq mi).[4] It is also found in the northeast of Argentina (Misiones and Corrientes), locally in Paraguay (Alto Paraná), growing in low mountains at altitudes of 500–1,800 metres (1,600–5,900 ft) and in northern regions of Uruguay where it was thought to be extinct until recent discoveries.[5]

The prehistoric distribution of A. angustifolia in earlier geologic periods was very different to the present day, fossils were found in the Northeast Region, Brazil.[6] The present day range is recent, the species moving into this area during the later Pleistocene and early Holocene. This chorological shift may possibly be due to climatic change and the migration of mountain flora by way of river courses.[7][8]


A very young Araucaria angustifolia

It is an evergreen tree growing to 40 m (130 ft) tall and 1 m (3 ft 3 in) diameter at breast height. However, the largest individual, near Nova Petropolis, Rio Grande do Sul State, Brazil is 147.7 feet (45 meters) in height with a D.B.H. (diameter at breast height) of 12.5 feet (3½ meters) girth.[9] The leaves are thick, tough and scale like, triangular, 3–6 centimetres (1.2–2.4 in) long, 5–10 millimetres (0.2–0.4 in) broad at the base, and with razor-sharp edges and tip. They persist 10 to 15 years, so cover most of the tree except for the trunk and older branches. It is closely related to Araucaria araucana from further southwest in South America, differing most conspicuously in the narrower leaves.

It is usually dioecious, with the male and female cones on separate trees. The male (pollen) cones are oblong, 6 cm (2.4 in) long at first, expanding to 10–18 cm (4–7 in) long by 15–25 mm (0.6–1.0 in) broad at pollen release. Like all conifers it is wind pollinated. The female cones (seed), which mature in autumn about 18 months after pollination, are globose, large, 18–25 cm (7–10 in) in diameter, and hold about 100–150 seeds. The cones disintegrate at maturity to release the approximately 5 cm (2 in) long nut-like seeds, which are then dispersed by animals, notably the azure jay, Cyanocorax caeruleus.

The inner bark and resin from the trunk of the tree is reddish, which can be a good defining character because it differs from A. araucana, which has brown bark inner and white resin.[10]

Habitat and ecology[edit]

It prefers well drained, slightly acidic soil but will tolerate almost any soil type provided drainage is good. It requires a subtropical/temperate climate with abundant rainfall, tolerating occasional frosts down to about −5 to −20 °C (23 to −4 °F).

Araucaria angustifolia in Cerro Largo, Uruguay.

The seeds are very important for the native animals. Several mammals and birds eat pinhão, and it has an important ecological role in Araucaria moist forests (a sub-type of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest).

In a long term study observing the feeding behaviour throughout the year of the squirrel Guerlinguetus brasiliensis ssp. ingrami in a secondary A. angustifolia forest in the Parque Recreativo Primavera in the vicinity of the city of Curitiba, Paraná, of the ten plant species of which the squirrel ate the seeds or nuts, seeds of A. angustifolia were the most important food item in the fall, with a significant percentage of their diet in the winter consisting of the seeds as well.

The squirrels cache seeds, but it is unclear how this affects recruitment.[11]

Human use[edit]

Araucaria angustifolia cones (pinhas) and nuts (pinhões)
Two dry male cones lie side by side on a table
Dry male cones

It is a popular garden tree in subtropical areas, planted for its unusual effect of the thick, 'reptilian' branches with a very symmetrical appearance.

The seeds, similar to large pine nuts, are edible, and are extensively harvested in southern Brazil (Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul states), an occupation particularly important for the region's small population of natives (the Kaingáng and other Southern Jê). The seeds, called pinhão [piˈɲɐ̃w̃] are popular as a winter snack. The city of Lages, in Santa Catarina state, holds a popular pinhão fair, in which mulled wine and boiled Araucaria seeds are consumed. 3,400 tonnes (7,500,000 lb) of seeds are collected annually in Brazil.

It is also used as a softwood timber in stair treads and joinery.[12]

The species is widely used in folk medicine.[13]

A. angustifolia is grown as an ornamental plant in parks of towns and cities of Chile, from Santiago to Valdivia. It grows better in low altitudes than the local Araucaria araucana, hence its use as substitute in the Central Valley and coastal regions of Chile.[14] In some places like the town of Melipeuco A. angustifolia can be seen growing side by side with A. araucana.[14]

The hybrid Araucaria angustifolia × araucana is thought to have first arisen "in a plantation forestry environment in Argentina sometime in the late 19th or early 20th century".[14] It is thus not a natural hybrid as there are more than 1000 km between the natural stands of the two species.[14]


According to one calculation it has lost an estimated 97% of its habitat to logging, agriculture, and silviculture in the last century.[1] People also eat the seeds, which may reduce recruitment.[1] It was therefore listed by the IUCN as 'vulnerable in 1998 and 'critically endangered' in 2008.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Thomas, P. (2013). "Araucaria angustifolia". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2013: e.T32975A2829141. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-1.RLTS.T32975A2829141.en. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  2. ^ Carrière Traité Gén. Conif. 415 1855
  3. ^ "ALEXANDRE BERNARDI KOEHLER" (PDF). (in Brazilian Portuguese). Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 November 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  4. ^ a b Helton Damin da Silva; Antonio F. Jurado Bellote; Carlos Alberto Ferreira; Itamar Antonio Bognola (2001). "Recomendação de solos para Araucaria angustifolia com base nas suas propriedades físicas e químicas" (PDF). Boletim de Pesquisa Florestal. 43: 61–74. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-06-09.
  5. ^ (PDF) Retrieved 2019-01-16. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ "Instituto de Pesquisas e Estudos Florestais IPEF".
  7. ^ Müller-Starck, Gerhard & Schubert, Roland. Genetic response of forest systems to changing environmental conditions. Springer, 2001. p. 94
  8. ^ Registros históricos da Araucária - Entrevista com Hermann Behling Archived 2013-10-29 at the Wayback Machine. Unisinos. Disponível em Amaivos, acesso 24 fev 2011
  9. ^ "Monumental Trees". December 2012. Retrieved September 24, 2012.
  10. ^ Farjon, Aljos (2010). A handbook of the world's conifers. Netherlands: Brill Publishers. p. 188. ISBN 9789004177185.
  11. ^ Bordignon, Marcelo; Monteiro‐Filho, E. L. A. (1999). "Seasonal Food Resources of the Squirrel Sciurus ingrami in a Secondary Araucaria Forest in Southern Brazil". Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment. 34 (3): 137–140. doi:10.1076/snfe. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  12. ^ Buckley, Michael (2005). "A basic guide to softwoods and hardwoods" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 August 2019. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  13. ^ A. M. Freitas; M. T. R. Almeida; C. R. Andrighetti-Fröhner; F. T. G. S. Cardozo; C. R. M. Barardi; M. R. Farias & C. M. O. Simões (2009). "Antiviral activity-guided fractionation from Araucaria angustifolia leaves extract". Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 126 (3): 512–517. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2009.09.005. PMID 19761825.
  14. ^ a b c d Christian, Tom (2018). "Araucaria angustifolia × araucana". Trees and Shrubs Online. International Dendrology Society. Retrieved 2021-04-22.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links[edit]