English/ Common name- Christmas Tree, Cook pine.

Botanical name- Araucaria columnaris

Appearance- The bark of the Cook pine peels off in thin paper-like sheets. Can reach 60 m in natural habit. But more commonly grown as a houseplant in pots. The relatively short, mostly horizontal branches are in whorls around the slender, upright to the slightly lean trunk. The branches are lined with cord-like, horizontal branchlets. The branchlets are covered with small, green, incurved, point-tipped, spirally arranged, overlapping leaves. The young leaves are needle-like, while the broader adult leaves are triangular and scale-like. The female seed cones are scaly, egg-shaped, and up to 6 inches (15 cm) long. The smaller, more numerous male pollen cones are at the tips of the branchlets and are scaly, foxtail-shaped, and 2 inches (5 cm) long. The bark peels off in papery strips and is rough, gray, and resinous. The trees have a slender, spire-like crown and look like unusually tall, thin Christmas trees.

 

Origin- Cook pines are towering trees that were once restricted to their native home of New Caledonia, an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. Through cultivation, they have taken root across tropical, subtropical, and temperate regions around the world.

Conditions required for growth- Cook pine does best in full sun exposures in a well drained soil. It is quite tolerant along salty beaches and of a wide range of soil pH, quite often used as a street tree, focal plant or beach row windbreak.

Uses- Typically planted as an ornamental and street tree in warm.The most common pharmacological activity of Araucaria in modern medicines is anti-inflammatory. It also possesses other pharmacological activities such as antiulcer, antiviral, neuroprotective, antidepressant, and anticoagulant. temperate climates. This is the only widely grown conifer in the Pacific Islands. Typically planted as an ornamental and street tree in warm

Fun fact-
The trees often have slightly tilting trunks. Scientists have now noted a bizarre pattern in their tilt: they lean south in their northern range and north in their southern range.

 

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