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Araucaria heterophylla (formerly A. excelsa)



NORFOLK ISLAND PINE, native to Norfolk Island east of Australia, faces risk of extinction in the wild due to its small range (Norfolk Island is less than 14 square miles), plus decline in extent and quality of habitat. Remaining stands are protected within Norfolk Island National Park.

Norfolk Island pine is tall, to 150 feet (though the ones I've seen in the San Francisco Bay Area are nowhere near that tall), symmetrical, pyramidal, with tiered branches. It is salt and wind tolerant. Norfolk Island pine is a popular ornamental in Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and California, and widely planted in subtropical climates around the world. The wood is used for turning and crafts by Hawaiian artisans.

Unlike seeds of bunya-bunya, the seeds of Norfolk Island pine are not edible. The seed cones are squat and round, about four inches in diameter, and take about 18 months to mature. They disintegrate at maturity, not posing the dangers of bunya-bunya cones.

Norfolk Island pine, Araucaria heterophylla, near downtown Berkeley, California

Leaves are densely spiraled and awl-shaped, but not sharp.

Pollen cones are long and cylindrical.

A tree that strongly resembles Norfolk Island pine is COOK PINE (Araucaria columnaris), once restricted to New Caledonia, but now grown in Australia, New Zealand, Southern California, Puerto Rico, India, Philippines and Hawaii. Cook pine has the unusual feature of leaning toward the equator, hence leaning south in the northern hemisphere and north in the southern hemisphere.

These Cook pines are near Kona, on the west side of the Big Island of Hawaii. They appear to be leaning left, toward the equator.