T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Araucaria cunninghamii (Hoop pine, Morton Bay Pine)

Kingdom:   Plantae
Division:    Pinophyta
Class:        Pinopsida
Order:       Pinales
Family:      Araucariaceae
Genus:      Araucaria
Species:     A. cunninghamii
Binomial name: Araucaria cunninghamii
Synonyms:     Araucaria beccarii, Araucaria glauca, Eutacta cunninghamii, Eutassa cunninghamii, Eutassa cunninghamii.
Common names: Hoop pine, Morton Bay pine, Colonial pine, Queensland pine, Arakaria, Dorrigo Pine.

Araucaria cunninghamii is found in the dry rainforests of New South Wales and Queensland and in New Guinea. The trees can live up to 450 years and grow to a height of 60 metres. The bark is rough, splits naturally, and peels easily.
The leaves on young trees are awl-shaped, 1–2 cm long, about 2 mm thick at the base, and scale-like, incurved, 1–2 cm long and 4 mm broad on mature trees. The cones are ovoid, 8–10 cm long and 6–8 cm diameter, and take about 18 months to mature. They disintegrate at maturity to release the nut-like edible seeds.

There are three varieties:
Araucaria cunninghamii var. cunninghamii - Australia, from northeast New South Wales to east-central Queensland, at 0-1,000 m altitude.
Araucaria cunninghamii var. papuana - New Guinea, on the mountains of Papua New Guinea, and in Irian Jaya, Indonesia, at 100-2,700 m altitude.
Araucaria cunninghamii var. glauca. There is some evidence to suggest that the plants of Magnetic Island, off the coast of Queensland, constitute a third variety

Most natural stands in Australia and Papua New Guinea have been depleted by logging and it is now this tree is 100% plantation grown, however the species continues to thrive in protected areas.
The wood is a high quality timber and is particularly important to the plywood industry and is also used for furniture, veneer, joinery, paneling, particle board, flooring and boats. The colour is generally whitish or light-coloured, the grain is straight and the texture is fine to very fine.

Photographed at Pukekura Park, New Plymouth. The green leaves are on trees of the understory.


The rough peeling bark.