ARAUCARIA, a genus of coniferous trees included in the tribe Araucarineae. They are magnificent evergreen trees, with apparently whorled branches, and stiff, flattened, pointed leaves, found in Brazil and Chile, Polynesia and Australia. The name of the genus is derived from Arauco, the name of the district in southern Chile where the trees were first discovered. Araucaria imbricata, the Chile pine, or "monkey puzzle," was introduced into Britain in 1796. It is largely cultivated, and usually stands the winter of Britain; but in some years, when the temperature fell very low, the trees have suffered much. Care should be taken in planting to select a spot somewhat elevated and well drained. The tree grows to the height of 150 ft. in the Cordilleras of Chile. The cones are from 8 to 8 in. broad, and 7 to 7 in. long. The wood of the tree is hard and durable. This is the only species which can be cultivated in the open air in Britain. Araucaria brasiliana, the Brazil pine, is a native of the mountains of southern Brazil, and was introduced into Britain in 1819. It is not so hardy as A. imbricata, and requires protection during winter. It is grown in conservatories for half-hardy plants. Araucaria excelsa, the Norfolk Island pine, a native of Norfolk Island and New Caledonia, was discovered during Captain Cook's second voyage, and introduced into Britain by Sir Joseph Banks in 1793. It cannot be grown in the open air in Britain, as it requires protection from frost, and is more tender than the Brazilian pine. It is a majestic tree, sometimes attaining a height of more than 220 ft. The scales of its cones are winged, and have a hook at the apex. Araucaria Cunninghami, the Moreton Bay pine, is a tall tree abundant on the shores of Moreton Bay, Australia, and found through the littoral region of Queensland to Cape York Peninsula, also in New Guinea. It requires protection in England during the winter. Araucaria Bidwilli, the Bunya-Bunya pine, found on the mountains of southern Queensland, between the rivers Brisbane and Burnett, at 27° S. lat., is a noble tree, attaining a height of 100 to 150 ft., with a straight trunk and white wood. It bears cones as large as a man's head. Its seeds are very large, and are used as food by the natives. Araucaria Rulei, which is a tree of New Caledonia, attains a height of 50 or 60 ft. Araucaria Cookii, also a native of New Caledonia, attains a height of 150 ft. It is found also in the Isle of Pines, and in the New Hebrides. The tree has a remarkable appearance, due to shedding its primary branches for about five-sixths of its height and replacing them by a small bushy growth, the whole resembling a tall column crowned with foliage, suggesting to its discoverer, Captain Cook, a tall column of basalt.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)