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Norfolk Island Pine

Araucaria heterophylla

Despite its name, Norfolk Pine is not a true pine and is actually a conifer belonging to the family Araucariaceae. This tree is native to and serves as a symbol of Norfolk Island, an external territory of Australia that lies between New Zealand and New Caledonia in the Pacific Ocean.

The first recorded European discovery of the Norfolk Pine was by the second expedition of Captain James Cook in 1774. They tried to use its wood to build masts and yards for sailing ships, but found the wood was not suitable for these uses. Today, it is a popular ornamental plant worldwide and is extensively used by Hawaiian artisans.

This beautiful tree displays symmetrical branches around a central, straight and vertical trunk. This symmetry remains undeterred by persistent winds that otherwise contort other species. A unique feature of Araucaria heterophylla is that when lateral branches are cut from a mature tree and propagated in soil, the branch will continue to grow horizontally and never produce a vertical stem.

It is important to maintain moderate temperatures, moist soil, and access to bright light, as a deficiency in these will cause the plant to drop its needles, and they never grow back.