|Section:||A. sect. Eutacta|
Araucaria cunninghamii is a species of Araucaria known as hoop pine. Other less commonly used names include colonial pine, Queensland pine, Dorrigo pine, Moreton Bay pine and Richmond River pine. The scientific name honours the botanist and explorer Allan Cunningham, who collected the first specimens in the 1820s.
The species is found in the dry rainforests of New South Wales and Queensland and in New Guinea. The trees can live up to 450 years and grow to a height of 60 metres. The bark is rough, splits naturally, and peels easily.
The leaves on young trees are awl-shaped, 1–2 cm long, about 2 mm thick at the base, and scale-like, incurved, 1–2 cm long and 4 mm broad on mature trees. The cones are ovoid, 8–10 cm long and 6–8 cm diameter, and take about 18 months to mature. They disintegrate at maturity to release the nut-like edible seeds.
There are two varieties:
- Araucaria cunninghamii var. cunninghamii – Australia, from northeast New South Wales to east-central Queensland, at 0–1,000 m altitude.
- Araucaria cunninghamii var. papuana – New Guinea, on the mountains of Papua New Guinea, and in Irian Jaya, Indonesia, at 100–2,700 m altitude.
Cultivation and other uses
The wood is a high-quality timber that is particularly important to the plywood industry and also used for furniture, veneer, joinery, panelling, particle board, flooring and boats. Most natural stands in Australia and Papua New Guinea have been depleted by logging. It is now mainly found on timber plantations; however, the species continues to thrive in protected areas, including Lamington National Park where at least one walking track is named after it.
The plantations in Queensland have been subject to damage by a native rat species, Rattus tunneyi, which digs to the roots of a semi-mature tree and kills it, the animal was declared a pest for this reason. The vulnerability of A. cunninghamii plantations to pest losses has caused some of them to be replaced by A. hunsteinii which suffers less in plantation. Unspecified Microlepidoptera are significant pests of the pine cones of both.[Gressitt 1982 1]
Cryptolaemus montrouzieri is a coccinellid predator of mealybug and soft scale insect parasites of A. cunninghamii, and has several characteristics that make it a good biocontrol for use in plantations. Although they are less interested in other trees - by many multiples - C. montrouzieri does hunt the same pests in custard apple and citrus plantations.
- Thomas, P. (2011). "Araucaria cunninghamii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2011: e.T32835A9734286. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2011-2.RLTS.T32835A9734286.en. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
- "Araucaria cunninghamii". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
- "Hoop Pine". Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
- "Hoop Pine". about NSW. Archived from the original on 13 March 2011. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
- "Species: Araucaria cunninghamii (Hoop Pine)". Plantation Information Network. Archived from the original on 18 March 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
- "Hoop Pine". Australian Timber Database. Timber.net.au. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
- "Nature, culture and history". Queensland Government. Archived from the original on 14 August 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
- Corlett, Eloise. "An Evolution Of Ethnobotany". ByronBayNow. Archived from the original on 18 February 2011. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
- Baverstock, P.R. (1983). "Pale Field Rat Rattus Tunneyi". In Strahan, R. (ed.). Complete book of Australian mammals. The national photographic index of Australian wildlife (1 ed.). London: Angus & Robertson. p. 451. ISBN 0207144540.
- Wylie, F. R. (1982). "Insect problems of Araucaria plantations in Papua New Guinea and Australia". Australian Forestry. Taylor & Francis (Informa UK Limited). 45 (2): 125–131. doi:10.1080/00049158.1982.10674343. ISSN 0004-9158.
- Finlay-Doney, M.; Walter, G.H. (2012). "Behavioral responses to specific prey and host plant species by a generalist predatory coccinellid (Cryptolaemus montrouzieri Mulsant)". Biological Control. Elsevier BV. 63 (3): 270–278. doi:10.1016/j.biocontrol.2012.09.004. ISSN 1049-9644.
- Gressitt, J. L., ed. (1982). Biogeography and Ecology of New Guinea. Monographiae Biologicae. Vol. 42. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands. p. 390. doi:10.1007/978-94-009-8632-9. ISBN 978-94-009-8634-3. ISSN 0077-0639. S2CID 26922762.
p. 391, 4.5. Insect pests of Araucaria species in New Guinea
- A number of as yet unidentified members of the Microlepidoptera also cause much wastage in cones of A. cunninghamii and A. hunsteinii."