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"Stand of 'pins colonnaires' on the cliffs of Lifou. Araucaria columnaris is local to the Loyalty Islands on coasts exposed to the prevailing winds" (Schmid 1981).


Tree about 20m tall in zocalo, Zacualpan, Nayarit [C.J. Earle, 2007.02.13].


Tree about 15 m tall and 40 cm dbh at Quail Botanical Garden, California [C.J. Earle, 2004.04.06].


Foliage on the above tree [C.J. Earle, 2004.04.06].


Bark on the above tree [C.J. Earle, 2004.04.06].


Distribution map (redrawn from de Laubenfels 1972).


Sometimes cell phone towers try to imitate conifers. This one in the city of Oaxaca, Mexico is trying to look like an Araucaria columnaris [R. Van Pelt, 2005.02].


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Conservation status 2010: protocol 3.1

Araucaria columnaris

(J.R. Forst.) Hooker 1852

Common names

Pin colonnaire [French], Cook's pine, New Caledonia pine, 柱状南洋杉 [Chinese] (Farjon et al. 2017).

Taxonomic notes


A molecular analysis places Araucaria columnaris into the clade of coastal species of New Caledonia, along with A. luxurians and A. nemorosa (Gaudeul et al. 2012).


"A narrowly conical tree to 60 m. tall. Trunk clear, then later with numerous short shoots. Bark gray, papery, exfoliating in thin strips. Branchlets cord-like, growing in one plane, 9-10 mm. In diameter. Juvenile leaves needle-like, imbricate, lanceolate, 4-7 mm. long by 2-3 mm. wide, apex incurved. Adult leaves scale-like imbricate, triangular, acuminate, obtuse, midrib faint, 5-7 mm. long by 3-5 mm. wide, apex incurved. Male cone oblong-cylindrical, 5-10 cm. long by 15-22 mm. wide; scales triangular, finely teethed, pollen sacs 10; microsporophylls cuspidate. Female cone 10-15 cm. long by 7-11 cm. wide, with short bracts to 7 mm. long. Seeds 3-3.5 cm. long, nut ovate, wings broadly rounded. Germination epigeal" (Silba 1986).

Distribution and Ecology

New Caledonia: Grande Terre (Province Sud), Isle of Pines, Loyalty Islands. On Grande Terre, it occurs along the SE and S coast from the Baie de Kouakoué to the Baie de Prony at the southern end of the island, and on the Ile Porc Epic near Nouméa. By the time of European arrival, it had been extensively planted by Polynesians on the Isle of Pines and the Loyalty Islands, where it is found on the Iles Ouvéa, Lifou and Maré. It is possible that the isolated population at Baie des Tortues on the SW coast was also introduced, likewise the outlying populations at Chesterfield Reefs and in Vanuatu (Aneityum). This species is littoral, and naturally established populations do not occur naturally more than 100 m from the beaches (Farjon et al. 2017).

Zone 10 (cold hardiness limit between -1°C and +4.4°C) (Bannister and Neuner 2001). In my experience, it is among the most common ornamental araucarias encountered in climates - such as Hawaii, New Zealand's north island, Queensland, southern California and Mexico - that are warm enough to support it.

The IUCN reports that the population status is stable.

Big tree

There is a specimen growing as an ornamental at the Tedeschi Winery in Ulupalakua on Maui, Hawaii, that is 48.8 m tall with a dbh of 120 cm (Robert Van Pelt e-mail 1998.03.18).



Have only found one study, exploring its use as a lead indicator (Medeiros et al. 2008).




A. columnaris was first discovered to Europeans on Captain Cook's second voyage, "on that extremity of New Caledonia, called Queen Charlotte's Foreland, and on a small neighbouring Island, named by Captain Cook Botany Island, which is a mere sand bank .... also on another island, called by our voyagers the Isle of Pines, from its being almost covered with the above mentioned tree" (Lambert 1806, as cited by Farjon et al. 2017).


Farjon, A., M. Gardner M. and P. Thomas. 2017. Conifer Database (version Jan 2014). In: Roskov et al. (eds.), Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life., accessed 2017.04.16.

Gaudeul, M., G. Rouhan, M.F. Gardner, and P.M. Hollingsworth. 2012. AFLP markers provide insights into the evolutionary relationships and diversification of New Caledonian Araucaria species (Araucariaceae). American Journal of Botany 99(1):68-81.

Medeiros, J. G. S., M. Tomazello, F. J. Krug and A. E. S. Vives. 2008. Tree-ring characterization of Araucaria columnaris Hook. and its applicability as a lead indicator in environmental monitoring. Dendrochronologia 26(3):165-171.

See also

Association Endemia, a site devoted to New Caledonian species. Has excellent photos, a range map, and other information. In French.

The PROTA database account for this species (accessed 2015.02.01). PROTA accounts are focused on commercial forest uses in Africa, and typically include photographs, drawings, names, distribution, and a variety of information relevant to management of the species.

Last Modified 2017-05-11