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ARAUCARIA columnaris

Image of Araucaria columnaris

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Araucariaceae

Botanical Name

ARAUCARIA columnaris

Plant Common Name

Cook Pine, New Caledonia Pine

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

The Cook pine is a cone-bearing evergreen tree native to New Caledonia, just east of Australia. It is a large, tall, upright, elegant tree with whorled branches and dark green, needle-type foliage. The little scale-like needles are prickly and linear, densely arranged in flexible, caterpillar-like fingers upon the lateral branches. At the tree's tip, the newest branch growth is a rounded tuft, and the older branches often are dropped and rejuvenated with shorter ones, creating a more obvious columnar habit. It produces cones that are either male or female, but appearing on the same tree but at different locations.

Cook pine does best in full sun exposures in a well drained soil. It is quite tolerant along salty beaches and of a wide range of soil pH, quite often used as a street tree, focal plant or beach row windbreak. Plant it in a spacious location as it towers skyward and will drop branches as a means to survive an intense windstorm. Members of the Araucaria can sprout new horizontal branches from their trunks, which is rare for a mature conifer tree. It may be grown as a houseplant when young, in fact, often times it is mislabeled as Norfolk Island pine (A. heterophylla) and sold as a small living Christmas tree. Do not position this tree near building foundations! As this plant is typically too large for the small urban yard, it should be avoided. However, plants can be cut down and allowed to regrow from the base and then pruned back every few years to keep it much smaller and less intimidating, even multi-stemmed.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    11 - 4

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    9 - 12

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    60'-120' / 18.3m - 36.6m (100)

  • Width

    10'-20' / 3.0m - 6.1m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring

  • Native To

    Melanesia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought, Salt, Soil Compaction

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Green

  • Fruit Color

    Green, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    Yes

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Fissured

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Shade Trees, Street Trees, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No