Cook Pine Tree
Araucaria columnaris – Cook Pine
Other Common Names: Columnar Araucaria, Cook Araucaria, New Caledonia Pine
Araucaria columnaris, also known as Columnar araucaria, Cook araucaria, New Caledonia pine, Coral reef araucaria, or simply Cook Pine, is a distinctly narrow conical tree that belongs to the Araucariaceae family. It is prevalent in the Melanasia region in the southwestern part of the Pacific Ocean.
It can grow up to 60 meters or 200 feet in its natural habitat. It has a slender and upright trunk that is surrounded by short, horizontal branches. The branches are lined with branchlets or twigs that resemble a cord. Small, green, and overlapping leaves cover the branchlets in a spiral arrangement. When the leaves are still young, they can be described as needle-like, but once they become more mature, the leaves become broader, triangular, and scale-like.
Just like other conical trees, the female seed cones of the Cook Pine are bigger than the male pollen cones. The female cones are shaped like an egg, scaly, and are anywhere from 10 to 15 centimeters long and 7 to 11 centimeters wide. On the other hand, the male cones are shaped like a foxtail, also scaly, and only grow to 2 inches or centimeters long. They are also numerous and are found at the tips of the branchlets.
Cook Pines are mainly used as ornamental trees. They are also used as houseplants, and are often cultivated in gardens as well as public landscapes because of their appeal. Their appearance is similar to the Norfolk Island Pines, that is why sometimes, they are incorrectly labelled as such when sold.