Syn.: Eutacta muelleri Carrière 1866; Eutassa muelleri (Carrière) de Laub. 2009 (nom. inval.) (Mill et al. 2017). A molecular analysis places Araucaria muelleri into the clade of large-leaved species of New Caledonia, along with A. biramulata, A. humboldtensis, A. laubenfelsii, A. montana, and A. rulei (Gaudeul et al. 2012).
Monoecious trees to 20 m tall and 60 cm dbh with an open, candelabra-like crown, branching per Rauh's model. Bark thick, light to reddish gray, exfoliating in horizontal strips, with a dark red inner bark. Foliage-bearing twigs borne distally on primary branches, steeply ascending from primary branches, up to 50 cm long and 3-5 cm across (including foliage), becoming broader toward the tips, straight or slightly curved, stiff. Adult leaves lanceolate to ovate, 20-32×9.5-18.5 mm, flat, tapering to an obtuse apex, exposed surface coriaceous and smooth with a matte texture, strongly keeled, margins revolute. Stomata in many closely-spaced rows from base to apex. Pollen cones terminal, erect, straight, 20-35×3-4 cm, the microsporophylls borne on a 10-12 mm thick rachis, imbricate, with a 4-5 mm stalk; lamina ovate, 6-8×5-6 mm, apex mucronate, with 15-20 linear pollen sacs, ca. 10 mm long. Seed cones terminal on short, thick twigs, solitary, erect, ovoid, 11-15×9-11 cm; bracts 2-2.5×1.8-2.2 cm with a rostrate, upcurved, 10-15 mm tip. Seeds oblong, 17-22×9-10 mm, slightly flattened, light brown (Farjon 2010, description modified per Mill et al. 2016 to exclude plants of A. goroensis).
New Caledonia: Grande Terre, Province Sud, where it is confined to the ultramafic region known as the 'Massif du Sud' or the 'Grand Sud' (Farjon et al. 2017); see map at left.
The IUCN reports that this species is facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild due to a limited and severely fragmented range that is suffering ongoing and projected declines in extent of habitat, number of subpopulations, and number of mature plants.
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. http://www.catalogueoflife.org/col/details/species/id/c37c26ab00c816c61f8ec5ccaff65d8d/source/tree, 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.
Mill, R. R., M. Ruhsam, P. I. Thomas, M. F. Gardner, and P. M. Hollingsworth. 2017. Araucaria goroensis (Araucariaceae), a new monkey puzzle from New Caledonia, and nomenclatural notes on Araucaria muelleri. Edinburgh Journal of Botany. DOI: 10.1017/S0960428617000014.
Ruhsam, M., A. Clark, A. Finger, A. S. Wulff, R. R. Mill, P. I. Thomas, M. F. Gardner, M. Gaudeul, R. A. Ennos, and P. M. Hollingsworth. 2016. Hidden in plain view: cryptic diversity in the emblematic Araucaria of New Caledonia. American Journal of Botany 103(5):888–898.
Association Endemia, a site devoted to New Caledonian species. Has excellent photos, a range map, and other information. In French.
Last Modified 2017-05-09