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Chilean araucaria (Araucaria araucana)

Chilean araucaria ( Araucaria araucana )

Empire : Plants (Plantae)
Department : Vascular plants (tracheophyta)
Subdivision : Seed plants (Spermatophytina)
Class : Coniferopsida
Order : Conifers (Coniferales)
Family : Araucarias
Scientific name
Henkel & W. Hochst.

The Araucariaceae are a very old family of plants within the conifers (Coniferopsida). They have a disjoint area in the southern hemisphere .


Illustration of Araucaria cunninghamii
Kauri tree ( Agathis australis ) in the Waipoua Forest on the North Island of New Zealand
Wollemia ( Wollemia nobilis )

Vegetative characteristics

The araucaria are evergreen trees . The narrow or wide leaves are often parallel-veined. The seedlings have four cotyledons ( cotyledons ), but often are two each grow together.

Generative characteristics

They are single- sexed ( monoecious ) or dioecious ( dioecious ). The male cones are relatively large, cylindrical, with many sporophylls . The pollen grains are wingless. The pollen of the Araucariaceae consists of up to 40 vegetative cells, instead of two (remaining conifers Coniferales), four (in the case of the pine family, Pinaceae) or ten (in the case of the stone slab family, Podocarpaceae). The upright, female cones are relatively large, egg-shaped to almost spherical, contain milky sap and take about 2 years to mature. The seed scales have only one seed.


In the Jurassic and the Cretaceous Period , araucarias (Araucariaceae) were widespread worldwide, more precisely on the Gondwana continent.

After the continents drifted apart , the family now has a disjoint area . All species of the family have become extinct in the northern hemisphere and in Africa. In the southern hemisphere, members of the family today have their natural distribution in New Caledonia , New Zealand and Australia as well as in Malaysia and South America . With a total of 18 species, New Caledonia has a particularly high species density. 13 species are endemic to New Caledonia.


The Araucariaceae family was set up in 1865 by Johann Baptist Henkel and Wilhelm Christian Hochstetter in Synopsis der Nädelhölzer , 1865. The type genus is Araucaria Juss.

The Araucariaceae family includes only three genera with a total of 41 species:

  • Kauri trees ( Agathis Salisb. ): There are 17 to 21 species.
  • Araucarias ( Araucaria Juss. ): There have been around 20 species as of 2017.
  • Wollemia W.G. Jones, KDHill & JMAllen : There is only one type:
    • Wollemia ( Wollemia nobilis W.G. Jones, KDHill & JMAllen ): It grows in the temperate rainforest in New South Wales, Australia . Only about 100 wild-growing specimens of this species are known, so it is a critically endangered species.


Some species such as the Chilean araucaria are used as park trees around the world. The Brazilian araucaria , on the other hand, is important as timber. It is used, for example, in instrument making, especially for inexpensive electric basses and guitars. The silver fir ( Araucaria heterophylla ) is one of the best-known species from this family. It prefers bright and cool locations and is also used as a houseplant .


Individual evidence

  1. Tudge 2006, p. 103
  2. a b c d data sheet Araucariaceae at - The Gymnosperm Database , 2019.
  3. Araucariaceae at Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis

Web links

Commons : Araucariaceae  - collection of images, videos and audio files