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Araucaria heterophylla (Norfolk Island Pine Tree)

Araucaria heterophylla (Norfolk Island Pine Tree)


13cm pot 20 to 30 cm high

Araucaria heterophylla (synonym A. excelsa) is a species of conifer. As its vernacular name Norfolk Island pine (or Norfolk 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. It is not a true pine, which belong to the genus Pinus in the family Pinaceae, but instead is a member of the genus Araucaria, in the family Araucariaceae, which also contains the monkey-puzzle tree. Members of Araucaria occur 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.

The distinctive appearance of this tree, with its widely spaced branches and symmetrical, triangular outline, has made it a popular cultivated species, either as a single tree or in avenues. When the tree reaches maturity, the shape may become less symmetrical. Despite the endemic implication of the species name Norfolk Island pine, the species is widely planted as an ornamental tree for its exotic, pleasing appearance and fairly broad climatic adaptability, and now occurs throughout the world in regions with suitable Mediterranean and humid subtropical climate. It grows well in deep sand, as long as it receives reliable water when young. This, and its tolerance of salt and wind, make it ideal for coastal situations. Indoors, the plant needs a bright location with at least 40% but preferably above 60% humidity for good growth. Indoor trees must not be exposed to the scorching sun or dry air from a radiator; the temperature should ideally not exceed 22 °C (72 °F). In winter, the plant needs a bright room that should be around 17 °C (63 °F).

Young trees are often grown as houseplants in areas where the winters are too cold for them to grow outside (they will not, for example, survive outdoors in most of North America or Europe), and are sometimes used as Christmas trees. It will not survive in areas subject to prolonged cold. However, there are a few specimens growing outdoors in the subtropical gardens of Tresco Abbey Gardens on the Isles of Scilly, in the United Kingdom. What is probably the most northerly specimen growing outdoors is a young tree on Valentia Island on the southwest coast of Ireland. The tendency for potted saplings to develop a barren appearance can be helped by growing them in clumps. In northern climates they can be left outdoors during summer or placed under grow lights to promote fuller growth.

Supplied as a 40cm specimen in 1-2ltr pot (bare root)

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