Araucaria columnaris

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Araucaria columnaris
0 Araucaria columnaris New Caledonia.jpg
Araucaria columnaris grove in native New Caledonia habitat.
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
(unranked): Gymnospermae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Araucariaceae
Genus: Araucaria
Section: A. sect. Eutacta
A. columnaris
Binomial name
Araucaria columnaris
  • Araucaria cookii R.Br. ex Endl.
  • Araucaria excelsa (Lamb.) R.Br.
  • Araucaria intermedia R.Br. ex Vieill.
  • Columbea excelsa (Lamb.) Spreng.
  • Cupressus columnaris J.R.Forst.
  • Dombeya excelsa Lamb.
  • Eutacta cookii Carrière
  • Eutacta excelsa (Lamb.) Link
  • Eutacta humilis Carrière
  • Eutacta minor Carrière
  • Eutassa columnaris (G.Forst.) de Laub.

Araucaria columnaris, the coral reef araucaria, Cook pine, New Caledonia pine, Cook araucaria, or columnar araucaria, is a species of conifer in the family Araucariaceae. It is commonly known as the Christmas tree.[citation needed]


The tree is endemic to New Caledonia in the Melanesia region of the Pacific.

It was first classified by Johann Reinhold Forster, a botanist on the second voyage of Captain James Cook to circumnavigate the globe as far south as possible.


Araucaria columnaris: male cones
Araucaria columnaris foliage in New Caledonia

Araucaria columnaris is a distinctive narrowly conical tree growing up to 60 m (200 ft) tall in its native habit. The trees have a slender, spire-like crown.[3] The shape of young trees strongly resembles A. heterophylla. The bark of the Cook pine peels off in thin paper-like sheets or strips and is rough, grey, and resinous.[3]

The relatively short, mostly horizontal branches are in whorls around the slender, upright to slightly leaning trunk. The branches are lined with cord-like, horizontal branchlets. The branchlets are covered with small, green, incurved, point-tipped, spirally arranged, overlapping leaves. The young leaves are needle-like, while the broader adult leaves are triangular and scale-like.[3]

The female seed cones are scaly, egg-shaped, and 10–15 cm (4–6 in) long by 7–11 cm (3–4 in) wide. The smaller, more numerous male pollen cones are at the tips of the branchlets and are scaly, foxtail-shaped, and 5 cm (2 inches) long.[3]

A 2017 study found that trees tend to have a uniform tilt dependent on the hemisphere of their location, leaning on average 8 degrees south in the northern hemisphere and the same angle north in the southern hemisphere.[4]

Ornamental tree[edit]

Araucaria columnaris is among the most common species of Araucaria planted as an ornamental tree and street tree in warm temperate climates. It is cultivated in gardens and public landscapes in Queensland and Victoria of Australia, northern New Zealand, Southern California, Puerto Rico, Mexico, India, Philippines and Hawaii.[3]


  1. ^ Thomas, P. (2010). "Araucaria columnaris". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2010: e.T42196A10661112. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2010-2.RLTS.T42196A10661112.en.
  2. ^ "Araucaria columnaris (G.Forst.) Hook.". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 13 December 2017 – via The Plant List.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Araucaria columnaris". The Gymnosperm Database.
  4. ^ Johns, J. W.; Yost, J. M.; Nicolle, D.; Igic, B.; Ritter, M. K. (2017). "Worldwide hemisphere-dependent lean in Cook pines". Ecology. 98 (9): 2482–2484. doi:10.1002/ecy.1850. PMID 28556968.

External links[edit]