Adelaide Botanic Garden: New Caledonia Pine

The genus Araucaria is a small one of very interesting trees including the Norfolk Island Pine, Hoop Pine and Bunya Pine from Australia, the Monkey Puzzle from Chile and New Caledonia Pine. The latter is endemic to New Caledonia and was noted by Captain Cook and his naturalists (Joseph Banks pulled out of the second trip at short notice) when they visited Australia in 1774.

There are four specimens of New Caledonia Pine Araucaria columnaris forming part the Araucaria Avenue planted in 1868. The tree has a tall narrow canopy and can attain a height of 30 metres or more. It is often misidentified as Norfolk Island Pine; however, it is clearly column like narrowing to a point at the top. It is common for specimens for the trunk to have a bend or for the whole tree to have a lean.

The other 12 trees in the planting are Norfolk Island Pine Araucaria heterophylla and they provide an excellent opportunity to observe the differences between the two species. The Avenue is one of the oldest surviving avenue plantings of Araucaria and this is partly due to some years ago removing the bitumen road through the avenue to improve their health.

The planting is of exceptional cultural value and is considered of State significance. Nearby is Bunya (the Aboriginal word for the tree) Pine Araucaria bidwillii from Queensland, which produces huge heavy pineapple-like cones weighing five kilograms or more.