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Flora of Australia Online

ARAUCARIA

K.D.Hill

Araucaria A.Juss., Gen. Pl. 413 (1798); from Araucani Indians of the Arauco district of southern Chile, where the type species occurs naturally.

Type: Araucaria imbricata Pav., nom. illeg. (= Araucaria araucana (Molina) K.Koch).

Columbea Salisb., Trans. Linn. Soc. London 8: 317 (1807). T: Columbea quadrifaria Salisb., nom. illeg. (= Araucaria araucana (Molina) K.Koch).

Eutacta Link, Linnaea 15: 543 (1842). T: Eutacta excelsa (Lamb.) Link.

Eutassa Salisb., Trans. Linn. Soc. London 8: 316 (1807). T: Eutassa heterophylla Salisb.

Monoecious trees with whorled, spreading branches. Leaves often dimorphic, spirally arranged, linear to narrowly lanceolate, flattened or subulate, sessile, broadly based, decurrent, crowded, with few to many parallel veins. Male cones solitary or in clusters of 2–4, terminal, axillary or terminal on short axillary shoots. Female cones solitary, spiny, terminal, axillary, or terminal on short axillary shoots; scales and bracts incompletely fused; free scale tip ('ligule') usually visible; bract scales winged or not. Seeds united with or enclosed by cone scales, not winged. Germination epigeal or hypogeal. Cotyledons 2–4, oblong or lanceolate, subsessile, with fine, subparallel, longitudinal veins. 

A genus of 18 species, mainly in the Australasian region, with two species in South America. Two species (one endemic) occur in Australia, and two exotic species are ±commonly cultivated but not naturalised; two species (or five, depending on the taxonomic viewpoint) occur in New Guinea, one is endemic to Norfolk Is. and 13 are endemic to New Caledonia. 

Four sections are recognised, with two occurring naturally in Australia and one occasionally cultivated.

Many species are valuable timber trees, and both native Australian species have been extensively cut for timber in the past. Economic use has diminished significantly in recent years due to over-exploitation and permanent reservation of remaining stands. Cones usually break up and shed individual scales at maturity. However, an exception is A. bidwillii which sheds entire (large) cones that subsequently disintegrate.

R.A.Stockey & H.Ko, Cuticle micromorphology of Araucaria de Jusseau, Bot. Gaz. 147: 508–48 (1986).

1 Leaves less than 1 cm long, acicular or scale-like

2

1: Leaves more than 1 cm long, flat, bifacial

bidwillii

2 Mature leaves subulate, keeled

cunninghamii

2: Mature leaves flattened, scale-like

3

3 Ultimate branchlets held rigidly erect; adult leaves more than 4 mm long

heterophylla

3: Ultimate branchlets lax, drooping; adult leaves less than 4 mm long

columnaris

A. heterophylla (the endemic Norfolk Island Pine ) is widely planted in parks and beach-front situations in southern Australia, and has become a striking feature of the skyline of many beach resorts (for description see P.S.Green, Fl. Australia 49: 543–545, 1994). Araucaria columnaris (Cook Pine , a New Caledonia endemic) is less frequently encountered, but has been a popular species in large public park plantings in south-eastern Australia for many years. Neither species appears to have become naturalised.

 

Data derived from Flora of Australia Volume 48 (1998), a product of ABRS, ©Commonwealth of Australia