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Woody > Araucaria > Araucaria angustifolia > Araucaria angustifolia

Araucaria angustifolia

Parana Pine

Origin:  Southern Brazil, parts of Paraguay and Argentina.
            Mike's Opinion

this is Mike


A very large evergreen, Araucaria angustifolia is a living fossil that used to cover several continents alongside the Ginkgo biloba and Sequoiadendron giganteum. Foliage is bizarre looking, closely related to the well-known Money Puzzle, it was a staple food of large dinosaurs as they could likely digest the tough leaves. Due to its near perfect timber, extreme damage by loggers has critically endangered it and now only covers a small area. It is highly valued by native peoples for its seeds that are released by giant cones and has a very long lifespan of up to 500 years. – Alex Thorpe

Michael Pascoe, NDP., ODH., CLT., MSc. (Plant Conservation)


Tree (evergreen)
USDA Hardiness Zone
7 - 9
Canadian Hardiness Zone
6b – Requires cool season protection under glass.
RHS Hardiness Zone
H6 – H3
Temperature (°C)
-18 – (-1)
Temperature (°F)
0 - 30
52 m
20 m
Description and Growing Information
Flowering Period
General Description
This potentially massive tree can be prized in the landscape as a single stemmed conifer despite being less popular than its sister species the Monkey Puzzle for its unique texture, blue-green needles, and branching habit. It differs in its shape and that it has rather large male pollen cones. Needles are sharp and have an angular shape that is unmistakable along with a perfectly straight trunk and horizontal branching that give it a broad candelabra shape.
Due to its large size, it is unpopular to use in the landscape. Specimen use for its strange texture and shape or in a park to attract birds, this tree needs a large open space to grow. It could be grown in its native habitat to reintroduce the critically endangered species, but it is more adaptable to cold temperatures than the Monkey Puzzle.
Though it can be grown in many types, it prefers a mildly acidic, well-draining soil and needs a placement that provides full sun to partial shade. A climate of mild, humid subtropical is required for best growth, with warm summer temperatures. If exposed to freezing temperatures, the tree will be badly damaged or killed.
When young it starts as a somewhat pyramidal tree that takes on a candelabra form with a blown-out umbrella shape and flap top when matured. Branches come out at a almost ninety degree angle but the lower branches stick out significantly like a lion tail giving the tree its other common name, Candelabra Tree.
ID Characteristic
Identifiable from a distance due to its single trunked flat top inverted umbrella shape with horizontal tufted branches. Needles are blue green, almost scale type, triangular, spirally arranged in a rough texture that makes it look very coarse and reptilian. Compared to the Monkey Puzzle they are softer and have a much narrower taper that will cover even the older branches. Male catkins are worm shaped with fine scales and are much larger versus other members of Araucariaceae.
No major pest or disease problems.
Found in subtropical, moist forests at an elevation of 200 – 2300 m. It grows best around room temperature (20 degrees Celsius) and is found in a mixed forest with fairly well drained and acidic soil.
Bark/Stem Description
A single stem extends up a large portion of an adult before lateral branches appear. Young bark is smooth, grey, and covered in leaf scales which last up to 15 years. Mature bark is horizontally striated, with shallow ridges that start to split vertically, closely resembling the appearance of elephant skin.
Flower/Leaf Bud Description
Lateral buds have an opposite to subopposite habit and flower buds are yellow in colour with a globular shape. Leaf buds are clustered at the terminal end of branches and resemble an artichoke in shape. Needles run almost parallel and are tightly clustered at the meristem, as the branch elongates, they form a ninety-degree angle to the stem.
Leaf Description
Foliage is a scale type, narrow lanceolate, almost deltoid in shape, very stiff and pointed at the apex with dimensions of up to 2 - 7 cm in length. Needles are arranged in a spiral pattern along the stem and at a ninety-degree angle to the stem except for the new growth which has an acute angle to the stem. They are a dull to medium green with a slight blue tinge and entire margins that are a cream yellow. The veins run parallel along the needle.
Flower Description
Male catkins on this conifer are uniquely big and as a dioecious species it is not able to self-pollinate. Male flowers start off as a yellow to green colour that are 10 cm long and 2.5 cm wide. They appear as asymmetrical tubular to conical in shape and once they reach around 15 cm in length and turn brown with fine scales, they release their pollen during the spring that is carried by the wind to the female cones.
Fruit Description
Female cones are almost globular to ovoid in shape and are extremely large measuring 20 – 25 cm in length. They contain well over 100 large oblong red wedge-shaped seeds that are over 5 cm in length. The surface of the cone is brown with a fine texture of diamond shaped scales that are slightly armed with a winged tip and a bard. Appearing in the spring, they take one and half to three years to mature fully and are borne just on the sides of the terminal shoot in twos or threes. When mature they drop from the tree for the birds to disperse but it does take several decades for a female tree to set fruit.
Colour Description
Foliage takes on a dull green with a hint of blue and has creamy yellow margins. The bark is an elephant grey in colour and cones start off as a light green with yellow scales and mature to a chestnut brown.
Texture Description
Texture is extremely coarse consistently for the year.
Notable Specimens
Largest living Parana Pine can be found growing in the park called Parque do Pinheiro Grosso in Brazil. It is called the big tree and has a chest height diameter of 2.7 m and a max height of 48 m. It is located at (29.3242°S, 50.85445°W).
Easiest and most effective way of propagating this plant is by germinating the seeds but one must have both female and male trees to produce a crop. The first step of preparing the seeds is finding the freshest seeds available which only keep for one and a half months. Seeds can be planted directly into soil in pots and kept moist for 90 days after which it will begin to germinate, and the seedling can be container grown in a sheltered location in this zone.
Ethnobotanical Uses (Disclaimer)
This tree was logged extremely heavily for its lumber as it is perfect for making beautiful planks, large posts of wood and producing paper products during the 19th and 20th century. This has declined the population by 97% and made it extremely rare. Large seeds are termed pinhao and are harvested by birds, native tribes and many parts of South America to be eaten. They are used as a source of pine nuts and need to be steamed and shelled before eaten.
C. J. Earle. (2021). Araucaria angustifolia.The Gynosperm Database. Retrieved from G. W. Knox. (2017). Parana Pine, Araucaria angustifolia: An Ancient-Looking Conifer for Modern Landscapes. IFAS Extension University of Florida. Retrieved from