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Lagarostrobos franklinii
Huon pine in a Tasmanian botanical garden
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Podocarpaceae
Genus: Lagarostrobos
Species: L. franklinii
Binomial name
Lagarostrobos franklinii
(Hook.f.) Quinn

Lagarostrobos franklinii is a species of conifer native to the wet southwestern corner of Tasmania, Australia; it is the sole species in Lagarostrobos; one other species L. colensoi formerly included has been transferred to a new genus Manoao. The genus was also formerly included in a broader circumscription of the genus Dacrydium.[1]

L. franklinii is often known as the Huon pine or Macquarie pine, although it is actually a podocarp (Podocarpaceae), not a true pine (Pinaceae).[2][3]

Close-up of Huon pine foliage

It is a slow-growing, but long-lived tree; some living specimens of this tree are in excess of 2000 years old.[4] It grows to 10 to 20 m tall, exceptionally reaching 30 m, with arching branches and pendulous branchlets. The leaves are spirally arranged, very small and scale-like, 1 to 3 mm long, covering the shoots completely. It is dioecious, with male (pollen) and female (seed) cones on separate plants. The male cones are yellow, 5 to 8 mm long and 1 to 2 mm broad. The mature seed cones are highly modified, berry-like, with 5 to 10 lax, open scales which mature in 6–8 months, with one seed 2 to 2.5 mm long on each scale. Unlike the closely related New Zealand genus Manoao, the scales do not become fleshy and are water-dispersed, not bird-dispersed.[2]

A stand of trees reputed to be in excess of 10,500 years old was recently found in western Tasmania on Mount Read. Each of the trees in this stand is a genetically identical male that has reproduced vegetatively. Although no single tree in this stand is of that age, the stand itself as a single organism has existed that long.[5]

The wood is highly prized for its golden yellow colour, fine grain, and natural oils that resisted rotting. The chemical giving the timber its unique smell and preservative qualities is methyl eugenol. Heavy logging of the trees for its timber coupled with the trees' slow growth has led to remaining stands being less than 105 km2 (26,000 acres).[6][7][8][9][10][11]

It has been planted in the grounds of Crathes Castle, Aberdeenshire, and has done well. Two healthy specimens can also be found at Torosay Castle, Isle of Mull.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Quinn, C. J. (1982). "Taxonomy of Dacrydium Sol. ex Lamb". Australian Journal of Botany 30 (3): 311–320. doi:10.1071/bt9820311. 
  2. ^ a b Molloy, B. P. J. (1995). "Manoao (Podocarpaceae), a new monotypic conifer genus endemic to New Zealand" (PDF). New Zealand Journal of Botany 33 (2): 183–201. doi:10.1080/0028825x.1995.10410483. 
  3. ^ Conifer Specialist Group (2000). Lagarostrobos franklinii. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
  4. ^ "Plants - Huon pine : one of the oldest plants on earth". Parks and Wildlife Service Tasmania. 2003. 
  5. ^ "Could a tree be 10,000 years old?". Gumnuts - the ASGAP Blog. Retrieved 2012-09-19. 
  6. ^ Staff of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (1977). Huon Pine. Hobart: Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. ISBN 0724602658. 
  7. ^ Peterson, M.J. (1990). Distribution and conservation of Huon Pine. Hobart: Forestry Commission. 
  8. ^ Kerr, Garry; McDermott, Harry (2004). The Huon pine story : the history of harvest and use of a unique timber. Portland, Vic.: Mainsail Books. ISBN 0957791704. 
  9. ^ Millington, R.J. (1983). Huon pine - endangered?. Hobart: Board of Environmental Studies, University of Tasmania. ISBN 0859012123. Environmental studies occasional paper 9. 
  10. ^ Scott, Paul (2004). The oldest living Tasmanian the Huon pine : the true story about a tree that has transformed the lives of generations. Balmain, N.S.W.: Australian Broadcasting Corporation & Screen Tasmania & Paul Scott Films & Mainsail Books. 
  11. ^ Hopkins, David L. (2004). The Huon Piners: A brief history in pictures and text of the men logging Tasmania's unique timber. Devonport, Tas.: D. Hopkins. 
  12. ^ "Half-hardy trees in Britain and Ireland - part two". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 2009-06-18.