Norfolk Island Pine, Star Pine Araucaria heterophylla - Araucaria excelsa

Detailed Listing For
Botanical Name:

Araucaria heterophylla







Common Name:

Norfolk Island Pine, Star Pine

200 feet
Minimum Hardiness Zone:

Our seed comes from Hawaii and is a hybrid between A. heterophylla and A. columnaris. The differences are very small between the 2 species.

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  • Araucaria heterophylla

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Growing Info, follow in order:
Scarification: none required.
Stratification: none required.
Germination: sow 1-2" deep, tamp the soil, mulch the seed bed.
In a Nutshell:
* The scientific name heterophylla ("different leaves") derives from the variation in the leaves between young and adult plants.
* Captain James Cook first sighted Norfolk Island in 1774 and saw these tall Araucaria heterophylla trees. At first these were thought of as very useful trees to produce the masts of the ships, as they are straight, tall and the side branches come off easily. Captain Cook took seeds and planted them at several locations along his journey as to have 'spare mast' material at different locations. Later on it was found that the wood was not resilient enough for ships masts.
* The tree is endemic to Norfolk Island , a small island in the Pacific Ocean between Australia , New Zealand and New Caledonia.
Araucaria heterophylla is a vascular plant in the ancient and now disjointly distributed conifer family Araucariaceae. As its vernacular name Norfolk Island pine implies, the tree is endemic to Norfolk Island, an external territory of Australia located in the Pacific Ocean between New Zealand and New Caledonia, but is also cultivated elsewhere as an ornamental. The genus Araucaria occurs across the South Pacific, especially concentrated in New Caledonia (about 700 km or 430 mi due north of Norfolk Island) where 13 closely related and similar-appearing species are found. It is sometimes called a star pine, Polynesian pine, triangle tree or living Christmas tree, due to its symmetrical shape as a sapling, although it is not a true pine.
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It is a slow growing tree, reaching a height of 50–65 m (160–210 ft), with straight vertical trunks and symmetrical branches, even in the face of incessant onshore winds that can contort most other species. From the straight trunk, it emits its branches almost horizontal or slightly oblique, in number of five, forming floors; the plane of each floor is a perfect pentagon. If kept indoors, the tree remains smaller. The gray-brown bark falls off in fine scales. At the more or less horizontal to sometimes hanging branches, the branches are four to seven in regular whorls.

The young leaves are soft and awl-shaped, 1–1.5 cm (3⁄8–9⁄16 in) long, about 1 mm (1⁄32 in) thick at the base on young trees, and incurved, 5–10 mm (3⁄16–13⁄32 in) long and variably 2–4 mm (3⁄32–5⁄32 in) broad on older trees. The thickest, scale-like leaves on coning branches are in the upper crown. The cones are squat globose, 10–12 cm (4–5 in) long and 12–14 cm (5–6 in) diameter, and take about 18 months to mature. They disintegrate at maturity to release the nut-like edible seeds. The seeds have a length of 2.5 to 3 cm (1 to 1+1⁄8 in) and a diameter of about 1.2 cm (1⁄2 in) with wide wings. There are four cotyledons present. It is a dioecious tree (male and female flowers in different plants), although it can also be monoecious.

The scientific name heterophylla ("different leaves") derives from the variation in the leaves between young and adult plants.

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Araucaria heterophylla (Norfolk Island Pine) and Araucaria columnaris (New Caledonia Pine) are much alike. The biggest difference is that the branches of the A. heterophylla grow out and straight and the branches of the A. columnaris grow out and more in a boat shape, so in an upwards curve. Most of the seed in the US comes from Hawaii where the trees are a hybridization bewteen A. heterophylla and A. columnaris. For its main purpose in the US, being Christmas trees it makes very little difference.
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