Araucaria cunninghamii Aiton ex A.Cunn.

Hoop Pine

A large tree growing to about 30 m tall, the crown more or less rounded with the upper branches arching upwards. Bark on the smallest branches is persistent and, because it is split at regular intervals is often shed as hoops or bands - hence the common name. Branches in whorls of 4-7 with the branchlets remaining only at the tips of the branches and forming dense tufts. Mature leaves are about 1 cm long, tapering from a broad base, overlapping and incurved, with a short point. Male cones mostly half way down the canopy at tips of branchlets and about the same width, to 8 cm long, hanging slightly when mature, flushes appear irregularly but are strong in April. Female cones terminal, 7-10 cm long, 5-8 cm wide, shortly stalked, often numerous in upper branches and sometimes lower down in the canopy; evident ripening Jan.-Feb. and disintegrating in early Mar.; seed is retained on the 2-winged scale when shed and has a membranous wing on each side.

Grows naturally mainly in warm temperate riverine and coastal rainforest or as a pioneer in subtropical rainforest, on poor soils from the Macleay River in N New South Wales to Townsville and offshore islands including New Guinea, occasionally close to the seashore.

Widely grown in the nineteenth and early twentieth century in public parks and gardens; now rarely planted in SE Australia.

Araucaria cunninghamii var. glauca (Antoine) Endl. is a blue-leaved variant, is found in central coastal Queensland but rarely cultivated: a mature specimen is growing in Perry Reserve off Kurrajong Avenue, Burnside, South Australia.

Qld, NSW, New Guinea & Islands.

The timber, grown in rainforest plantations in N NSW and S Qld, is used mostly for plywood, but also joinery, furniture and boat-building: more recently this species has been used experimentally for agroforestry. The widespread New Guinea populations, which are taller trees with longer juvenile leaves are recognised as var. papuana Laut. and used for timber.

Crown more or less rounded, the upper branches arching upwards; foliage in dense tufts at the end of the branches; female cones terminal, drumstick-like.

SA: Marryatville (Eden Park Conference Centre, 1 The Crescent. One of 2 remaining pines ptd by first settler George Brunskill in his garden Eden Park in 1840); Mt Gambier (Bot. Gds); Penola (Davis St). NSW: Faulconbridge (Jackson Park, ptd King George V); Goulburn (Belmore Park); Jervis Bay (Bot. Gds); Sydney (Royal Bot. Gds; Rozelle, Rozelle Hospital S of Japanese Garden and below Acacia Lodge c. 35 m tall); Tamworth (Carthage St, 27 m tall in 1992, c. 110 years old); Woollahra (Council Chambers 27 m in 1992, 100 years old; Vaucluse Park 29 m, 120 years old in 1992); Wagga Wagga (Collins Park, Victory Memorial Gds). VIC: Essendon (Queens Park); Ballarat (Seymour Crt); Bendigo (Rosalind Park); Burnley (VCAH - 24 m in 1989 ptd c. 1863); Domain (near La Trobe's Cottage); Essendon (Queens Park); Fitzroy (Gds); Kew (Cotham Rd tramstop 43 near Burke Rd); Koroit (Bot. Gds); Heidelberg (Park); Melbourne (Royal Bot. Gds); Mt Waverley (Jells Park - above Visitor Centre); Parkville (Melbourne University Botany Dept, Systems Garden); St Kilda (Blessington St Gds); Sth Melbourne (St Vincent Gds, next to tennis crt); Wangaratta (Anglican Cathedral). ACT: Australian National Bot. Gds. TAS: Hobart (Royal Tasmanian Bot. Gds); Launceston (Elphin Rd, 2 trees c. 90 years old in 1988); New Norfolk (Inn near Plenty River).

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.