Cook Pine (Araucaria columnaris)


Araucaria columnaris, known as Cook pine or Cook’s pine, is a species of conifer in the family Araucariaceae. It is endemic to New Caledonia, which as a location harbours a vast amount of remnant, warm climate Antarctic Flora.

This species is unique among all the trees in the world in that it leans towards the equator. The entire tree leans, from the base to the crown, and the lean is greater with increasing latitude.

Araucaria columnaris is a distinctive narrowly conical tree growing up to 60 m tall in its native habit with a spread of roughly 5 metres. The trees have a slender, spire-like crown. The shape of young trees strongly resembles another commonly found species,  Araucaria heterophylla, which is found growing mainly along beachside locations across Australia. Unlike their prickly cousins, the Monkey Puzzle and Bunya Pine, the needles of the Cook Pine are soft and are lined with cord-like, horizontal branchlets. The branchlets are covered with small, green, incurved, point-tipped, spirally arranged, overlapping leaves. The young leaves are needle-like, while the broader adult leaves are triangular and scale-like. The bark of the Cook pine peels off in thin paper-like sheets or strips and is rough, grey, and resinous.

The Cook Pine performs best in full sun with moderately fertile and moist well-draining soil. They can tolerate salt-laden winds and a generally pest and disease free. Makes for an attractive regionally native Christmas tree while small, and you can expect growth between 30 and 60cm per year.


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