Araucaria

Family

Araucariaceae

An important genus of conifers with some ten species in the southern hemisphere. It is represented in S. America by the species described below; and by A. angustifolia of S.E. Brazil and neighbouring parts of Argentina, known as the Parana pine. The other species are natives of Australia, New Guinea, and islands of the S.W. Pacific. Of the two Australian species, A. bidwillii and A. cunninghamii, the latter is an important forestry tree, and both are planted for ornament in frost-free climates. Still better known as a specimen tree is the Norfolk Island pine, A. heterophylla (excelsa), but this, too, is not hardy enough in Britain.

All the species are characterised by evergreen leaves which persist on the branches for many years; in the two S. American species, and in A. bidwillii, they are flat and broad, in the others more or less linear or awl-shaped. The former group is also distinguished by its larger cones.

The family Araucariaceae is a small one, comprising, besides Araucaria, only the genus Agathis, with some twenty closely allied species in New Zealand, the S.W. Pacific and Malesia. Of these the best known is the Kauri pine, Agathis australis, native of the northern extremity of the N. Island of New Zealand.

Species articles