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Temporal range:
Maastrichtian to recent 67–0 Ma
Huon pine in a Tasmanian botanical garden
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Gymnospermae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Araucariales
Family: Podocarpaceae
Genus: Lagarostrobos
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 often known as the Huon pine or Macquarie pine, although it is actually a podocarp (Podocarpaceae), not a true pine (Pinaceae).[2][1] It is the sole species in the genus Lagarostrobos; one other species L. colensoi (endemic to New Zealand) formerly included has been transferred to a new genus Manoao. The genus was also formerly included in a broader circumscription of the genus Dacrydium.[3]

In molecular phylogenetic analyses Lagorostrobos was found to be related to Parasitaxus (a parasitic and monotypic genus from New Caledonia) and Manoao, but their exact relationships are unresolved.[4]

The wood is highly prized for its golden yellow colour, fine grain, and natural oils that resist rotting. The chemical giving the timber its unique smell and preservative qualities is methyl eugenol.

It has been planted in the grounds of Crathes Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland and has done well. Two healthy specimens can also be found at Torosay Castle, Isle of Mull.[5]


Close-up of Huon pine foliage

The Huon pine is a slow-growing, but long-lived tree; some living specimens of this tree are in excess of 2,000 years old.[6] It grows to 10 to 20 metres (33 to 66 ft) tall, exceptionally reaching 30 m (98 ft), with arching branches and pendulous branchlets. The leaves are spirally arranged, very small and scale-like, 1 to 3 mm (0.039 to 0.118 in) 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 (0.20 to 0.31 in) long and 1 to 2 mm (0.039 to 0.079 in) broad. The mature seed cones are highly modified, berry-like, with 5 to 10 lax, open scales which mature in six-to-eight months, with one seed 2 to 2.5 mm (0.079 to 0.098 in) 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]

Based on herbarium specimens the extent of occurrence is estimated to be around 13,363 km2 (5,159 sq mi) with an estimated area of occupancy of 13,363 km2 (5,159 sq mi). The actual area of occupancy is estimated to range from 2,500 ha (6,200 acres) (Gibson 1991) to as much as 10,500 ha (26,000 acres) (Parks and Wildlife Service Tasmania 2006).[1]


Huon pines are some of the oldest living organisms on the Earth.

A stand of trees in excess of 10,500 years old was found in 1955 in western Tasmania on Mount Read.[7] 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.[8]

Individual trees in the clonal patch have been listed as having ages of 2,000[6][9] or even to 3,000[10][11] years old.

Because of the long life of individual trees, tree rings from Huon Pine have been used for dendrochronology to establish a record of climate variation.[12]


An estimated 15% of its habitat has been lost through inundation for hydroelectric schemes and to fire over the past 100 years or so. Extensive logging in the past has removed nearly all large trees, but there is regrowth nearly everywhere. One stand of the species has been made available for access to craft wood from dead and downed timber under a strict licensing system. It is illegal to cut living trees.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Farjon, A. (2013). "Lagarostrobos franklinii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2013: e.T34153A2848138. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-1.RLTS.T34153A2848138.en. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  2. ^ a b Molloy, B. P. J. (1995). "Manoao (Podocarpaceae), a new monotypic conifer genus endemic to New Zealand". New Zealand Journal of Botany. 33 (2): 183–201. doi:10.1080/0028825x.1995.10410483.
  3. ^ Quinn, C. J. (1982). "Taxonomy of Dacrydium Sol. ex Lamb". Australian Journal of Botany. 30 (3): 311–320. doi:10.1071/bt9820311.
  4. ^ Sinclair, W. T., R. R. Mill, M. F. Gardner, P. Woltz, T. Jaffré, J. Preston, M. L. Hollingsworth, A. Ponge, and M. Möller. (2002) Evolutionary Relationships of the New Caledonian Heterotrophic Conifer Parasitaxus Ustus (Podocarpaceae), Inferred from Chloroplast trnL-F Intron/Spacer and Nuclear ITS2 Sequences. Plant Systematics and Evolution 233: 79–104.
  5. ^ "Half-hardy trees in Britain and Ireland - part two". Royal Horticultural Society. Archived from the original on 2013-03-11. Retrieved 2009-06-18.
  6. ^ a b "Plants - Huon pine : one of the oldest plants on earth". Parks and Wildlife Service Tasmania. 2003.
  7. ^ Graham Lloyd, "The oldest tree", The Australian, September 10, 2011. Retrieved 2018-03-22.
  8. ^ "Could a tree be 10,000 years old?". Gumnuts - the ASGAP Blog. Archived from the original on 2007-04-11. Retrieved 2012-09-19.
  9. ^ Cris Brack and Matthew Brookhouse, Where the old things are: Australia's most ancient trees", The Conversation, April 17, 2017: "the oldest in Australia could be a Huon pine (Lagarostrobos franklinii) in Tasmania, the oldest stem of which is up to 2,000 years old." Retrieved 2018-03-22.
  10. ^ Huon Pine Lagarostrobos franklinni" Archived 2018-06-28 at the Wayback Machine, Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, 2011: "Individuals have been known to reach an age of 3,000 years." Retrieved 2018-03-22.
  11. ^ Quinn, Lagarostrobos franklinii, The Gymnosperm Database, 1982: "Living trees sampled by increment borer have yielded ring counted ages of up to 2,500 years, and since these were not pith dates, it seems likely that there are living trees with ages in excess of 3,000 years (Balmer 1999)." Retrieved 2018-03-22.
  12. ^ Cook, E.R., Francey, R.J., Buckley, B.M. and D'Arrigo, R.D., "Recent increases in Tasmanian Huon pine ring widths from a subalpine stand: natural climate variability, CO2 fertilisation, or greenhouse warming?", Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania, vol. 130(2), 1996, pp. 65-72. ISSN 0080-4703. Retrieved 2018-03-22.