Oyster Bay Pine


Native conifer is found across Eastern and Southern Australia. Highly ornamental evergreen with a heavenly scent, it is drought hardy, responds well to pruning and is excellent as both a screen and hedge. It can be used as a windbreak or used in a landscape where water use is limited. Grows in most soil types and requires little maintenance.

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Oyster Bay Pine

Callitris rhomboidea

The Oyster Bay Pine, also known as the Port Jackson Pine, is a native conifer found from south-eastern Queensland to eastern Tasmania, west to Kangaroo Island, South Australia.

The Oyster Bay Pine will reach heights of 12 metres with a spread of 3 metres under optimal conditions. In its natural range, it can reach heights of 30 metres where rainfall is abundant, and the soil is free-draining and moderately organic. It can sometimes appear shrubby, with a single forking trunk.


The bark is brown, weathering to greyish-brown, and has hard, flaking scales becoming fissured or wrinkled. The leaves are simple, scaled, and whorled, and vary between juvenile and adult forms. All Callitris species are monoecious, and specimens will produce both pollen and seed cones. The Oyster Bay Pine will tolerate a variety of conditions, including areas with subzero overnight winter temperatures and hot and arid summers indicative of inland eastern Australia. It is best suited to climate zones 4 to 7 but will tolerate zone 2 and 3.


It will tolerate loamy soils but prefers a well-drained, moist to slightly dry moderately fertile sandy or granite soil with a pH range of 5.5 to 7.0. It has a columnar growth habit and grows at a moderate rate, establishing within 3 to 4 years. It requires moist soil and mulch during warm weather when young and will tolerate dry and drought conditions once established.


This versatile tree is planted as a specimen in medium-sized yards, parks, and native gardens. It is also useful in group plantings, as a native windbreak, borders, screening or as an attractive hedge. It is also useful to stabilise soil and erosion effects when planted along with watercourses. The needles produce an attractive aroma when crushed and the bows are used to create native Christmas displays.


Callitris is part of a clade known colloquially as Cypress Pines, which is a relic of a time when Australia was wetter, covered in vast forests and positioned at more southerly latitudes compared with its position today. As Australia drifted northwards and eastwards and the continent dried, Callitris and its related species Actinostrobus, were able to survive more arid conditions, comparable ecologically with the northern hemisphere Cupressus species.

Today, there are 15 Callitris species, 13 of which are found in Australia across most of the continent in a wide variety of environments, soil types and conditions.


The earliest known fossilized evidence of Callitris appears during the Oligocene period, approximately 30 to 25 million years ago, ± 2 million years. During this period, the circumpolar current surrounding Antarctica was beginning to form, with the opening of the Drake passage and the Tasmanian gateway. At this time, glaciers were beginning to form in Antarctica’s highlands and mountains, but the continent still contained vibrant flora and fauna. Australia would have experienced a slight cooling and drying but would have sustained most of the mixed conifer and broadleaf forests which dominated the southern two-thirds of the continent.


Callitris is closely related to Actinostrobus and Neocallitropsis species, found in Western Australia and New Caledonia. Callitris is related to Widdringtonia, Diselma and Fitzroya species from which it diverged from approximately 80 million years ago, ± 5 million years. It fulfils the ecological niche occupied by Pinus and some Cupressus species found in the northern hemisphere.


Callitris presents an exciting opportunity for Australian garden enthusiasts to include landscapes where exotic conifer species have been favoured in the past. Given the broad range of Callitris species, their size, shape, and ability to withstand most Australian soil types and climates, they are the natural choice for gardeners and enthusiasts who wish to include more native species in their gardens.


Please contact us if you have any questions regarding any item you see in our catalogue as we want to help you buy the right item for your needs.

To find out more about Oyster Bay Pines, see conservation efforts by the Tasmanian government for more information.


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