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Araucaria angustifolia

"Candelabra Tree" redirects here. The spurge Euphorbia ingens(naboom) is also sometimes called thus.

Araucaria angustifolia is a species in the conifer genus Araucaria. It is native to southern Brazil (southern Minas Gerais, southern Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Parana, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande Do Sul, locally in Paraguay (Alto Parana) and the northeast of Argentina (Misiones and Corrientes), growing in low mountains at altitudes of 500-1800 meters.

It is an evergreen tree growing to 40 m tall and 1 m trunk diameter. The leaves are thick, tough and scale like, triangular, 3-6 cm long, 5-10 mm broad at the base, and with razor-sharp edges and tip. They persist for 10-15 years, so cover most of the tree except for the trunk and older branches.

It is usually dioecious, with the male and female cones on separate trees. The male (pollen) cones are oblong, 60cm long at first, expanding to 10-18 cm long by 15-25 mm broad at pollen release. Like all conifers it is wind pollinated. The female (seed) cones, which mature in autumn about 18 months after pollination, are globose, large, 18-25 cm diameter, and hold about 100-150 seeds. The cones disintegrate at maturity to release the 5 cm long nut-like seeds, which are then dispersed by the Azure Jay Cyanocorax caeruleus.

It is closely related to Araucaria araucana from further southwest in South America, differing most conspicuously in the narrower leaves.

It prefers well drained, slightly acidic soil but will tolerate almost any soil type provided drainage is good. It requires a subtropical climate with abundant rainfall, tolerating occasional frosts down to about −5 C to −8 C. It is a popular garden tree in subtropical areas, planted for its unusual effect of the thick, 'reptilian' branches with a very symmetrical appearance.

The seeds, similar to large pine nuts, are edible, and are extensively harvested in Brazil, particularly by Native American people. The seeds, called pinhao are popular as a winter snack. The city of Lages, in Santa Catarina state, holds a popular pinhao fair, in which hot wine and boiled araucaria seeds are consumed. In Brazil, 3,400 tonnes of seeds are collected annually, seriously threatening the regeneration of the species . The wood is also widely used.

Although the common names in various languages refer to the species as a "pine" it is not a true pine.

See also

Official list of endangered flora of Brazil


Database entry includes justification for why this species is critically endangered

Gymnosperm Database: Araucaria angustifolia

Marinelli, J. (2005). Plant. DK Publishing. ISBN 075660589X.

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