Araucaria columnaris (G.Forst.) Hook.

Cook's Pine

A tall, narrowly columnar tree with tapering crown, growing to 30 m or so tall, frequently with a pronounced lean (allegedly to the north), a character also found in the wild. Bark papery and peeling. Lower branches soon shed; short shoots (epicormic growth) then develop to produce the unusual and characteristic extremely narrow form. Branchlets slender and in older trees retained only at the ends of the branches. Juvenile leaves triangular or lanceolate to 1 cm long. Adult leaves ovate, 5-7 mm long, 5 mm broad, overlapping and curved inwards, the branchlets being about 1 cm wide with a rope-like appearance. Male cones terminal, 5-8 cm long, Dec.-Jan, mainly in upper half of canopy. Female cones ovoid, 10-15 cm long, 8-10 cm wide developing Aug-Sept., breaking up Feb.-Mar.; scales with well-developed wings.

The rarer of the commonly-planted species with a few old trees remaining from plantings of the 19th century. Discovered on the Isle of Pines (near New Caledonia) by Captain Cook on his second voyage in the Pacific where it is a widespread coastal species also found on Loyalty Island.

New Caledonia, Polynesia, Isle of Pines.

Foliage may be easily confused with that of A. heterophylla or A. cunninghamii but the habits and foliage distribution of the three trees is distinct. This species has a pronounced narrowly columnar habit, generally leaning and with a pointed crown.

VIC: Brighton (ANZAC Hostel); Bulla ('Glenara'); Dromana ('Heronswood' La Trobe Pde); Geelong (Eastern Park; Geelong College Prep. School, Minerva Road Entrance); Malvern (Toorak Teachers College, 'Stonnington', main drive); Melbourne (Royal Bot. Gds, Bed in Eastern Lawn; bed opp. 'B' Gate in Tennyson Lawn; lawn near 'H' Gate; Wellington Pde opposite entrance to MCC nursery); South Melbourne (St Vincent Gardens). SA: Adelaide (on rise between lake and administration. complex, Adelaide Bot. Gds ptd 1868). NSW: Mollymook (near surf beach adjacent to Golf Club); Sydney (Royal Bot. Gds; Centennial Park; Concord, Thomas Walker Hospital, 'Rivendell' c. 30 m tall; Cumberland Hospital near cricket oval, c. 30 m tall; Hunters Hill, Catholic Theological Union, Mary St, several in a grove c. 35 m tall; Parramatta Park, 3 trees above old Government House on top of hill c. 40 m tall); Woollahra (Dunara Gds 32 m tall, 100 years old).

Source: Spencer, R. (1995). Araucariaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 1, Ferns, conifers & their allies. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

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Distribution map
kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Pinopsida
order     Pinales
family      Araucariaceae
genus       Araucaria Juss.