Norfolk Island pine Araucaria excelsa, photographed by Danielle Langlois.

Belongs within: Cupressophyta.

The Araucariaceae is a family of thirty-five living species of conifer found in South America and the south-western Pacific region. Members of the genus Agathis have hard and smooth bark and petiolate leaves; species of Agathis are found between the Philippines, eastern Australia and Polynesia with a single species A. australis, the kauri, found in northern New Zealand. Species of Araucaria and Wollemia nobilis have rough, exfoliating bark and sessile leaves that are spirally arranged in Araucaria but opposite in Wollemia nobilis. Some are popular ornamental trees; the Norfolk Island pine Araucaria excelsa is particularly popular for its remarkably geometrical, conical shape.

Characters (from Allan 1961): Plants mostly dioecious. Male strobili with numerous sporophylls. Female cones woody, terminal on short branchlets. Carpidia numerous, spirally arranged; two or four cotyledons present.

Araucariaceae [Araucarinae]
    |  i. s.: Araucarioides P00
    |         Araucarites Presl 1838 BO02
    |           |--A. cutchensis F71
    |           |--A. falsanii BO02
    |           |--A. indica Lele 1962 C93
    |           |--A. janaianus BO02
    |           `--A. parsorensis Lele 1955 C93
    |         Woodworthia arizonica Jeffrey 1910 CA04
    |--+--Wollemia nobilis MM12
    |  `--Agathis Salisbury 1807 MM12, A61
    |       |--A. alba JD05
    |       |--A. australis Salisb. 1807 (see below for synonymy) A61
    |       |--A. dammara MM12
    |       |--A. palmerstoni H42
    |       `--A. robust W95
    `--Araucaria MM12
         |--A. angustifolia CL-Z03
         |--A. araucana (Molina) Koch 1873 CD07
         |--A. balansae GT02
         |--A. balcombensis P00
         |--A. bidwillii M94
         |--A. biramulata M94
         |--A. brasiliensis MM96
         |--A. carinatus P00
         |--A. columnaris M94
         |--A. cunninghamii GT02
         |--A. excelsa GT02
         |--A. fletcheri Selling 1950 F71
         |--A. heterophylla NM11
         |--A. hunsteinii K77
         |--A. imbricata V01
         |--A. macrophylla GT02
         `--A. mirabilis MM12

Agathis australis Salisb. 1807 [=Dammara australis Don in Lamb. 1824; incl. Podocarpus zamiaefolius Rich. 1832] A61

*Type species of generic name indicated


[A61] Allan, H. H. 1961. Flora of New Zealand vol. 1. Indigenous Tracheophyta: Psilopsida, Lycopsida, Filicopsida, Gymnospermae, Dicotyledones. R. E. Owen, Government Printer: Wellington (New Zealand).

[BO02] Barale, G., & M. Ouaja. 2002. La biodiversité végétale des gisements d’âge Jurassique supérieur-Crétacé inférieur de Merbah El Asfer (Sud-Tunisien). Cretaceous Research 23: 707–737.

[CD07] Cantino, P. D., J. A. Doyle, S. W. Graham, W. S. Judd, R. G. Olmstead, D. E. Soltis, P. S. Soltis & M. J. Donoghue. 2007. Towards a phylogenetic nomenclature of Tracheophyta. Taxon 56 (3): E1–E44.

[CL-Z03] Carbayo, F., & A. M. Leal-Zanchet. 2003. Two new genera of geoplaninid land planarians (Platyhelminthes: Tricladida: Terricola) of Brazil in the light of cephalic specialisations. Invertebrate Systematics 17: 449–468.

[C93] Cleal, C. J. 1993. Gymnospermophyta. In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Fossil Record 2 pp. 795–808. Chapman & Hall: London.

[CA04] Creber, G. T., & S. R. Ash. 2004. The Late Triassic Schilderia adamanica and Woodworthia arizonica trees of the Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona, USA. Palaeontology 47: 21–38.

[F71] Fletcher, H. O. 1971. Catalogue of type specimens of fossils in the Australian Museum, Sydney. Australian Museum Memoir 13: 1–167.

[GT02] Gomez, B., F. Thévenard, M. Fantin & L. Guisberti. 2002. Late Cretaceous plants from the Bonarelli Level of the Venetian Alps, northeastern Italy. Cretaceous Research 23: 671–685.

[H42] Hill, G. F. 1942. Termites (Isoptera) from the Australian Region (including Australia, New Guinea and islands south of the Equator between 140°E. longitude and 170°W. longitude). Commonwealth of Australia Council for Scientific and Industrial Research: Melbourne.

[JD05] Junge, F. W., M. Dolezych, H. Walther, T. Böttger, A. Kühl, L. Kunzmann, P. Morgenstern, T. Steinberg & R. Stange. 2005. Ein Fenster in Landschaft und Vegetation vor 37 Millionen Jahren: Lithologische, sedimentgeochemische und paläobotanische Befunde aus einem Paläoflusssystem des Weißelsterbeckens. Mauritiana 19 (2): 185–273.

[K77] Koch, L. E. 1977. The taxonomy, geographic distribution and evolutionary radiation of Australo-Papuan scorpions. Records of the Western Australian Museum 5 (2): 83–367.

[MM12] Mao, K., R. I. Milne, L. Zhang, Y. Peng, J. Liu, P. Thomas, R. R. Mill & S. S. Renner. 2012. Distribution of living Cupressaceae reflects the breakup of Pangea. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 109 (20): 7793–7798.

[M94] May, B. M. 1994. An introduction to the immature stages of Australian Curculionoidea. In: Zimmerman, E. C. Australian Weevils (Coleoptera: Curculionoidea) vol. 2. Brentidae, Eurhynchidae, Apionidae and a chapter on immature stages by Brenda May pp. 365–728. CSIRO Australia.

[MM96] Mound, L. A., & R. Marullo. 1996. The thrips of Central and South America: an introduction (Insecta: Thysanoptera). Memoirs on Entomology, International 6: 1–487.

[NM11] Nagalingum, N. S., C. R. Marshall, T. B. Quental, H. S. Rai, D. P. Little & S. Mathews. 2011. Recent synchronous radiation of a living fossil. Science 334: 796–799.

[P00] Pole, M. S. 2000. Mid-Cretaceous conifers from the Eromanga Basin, Australia. Australian Systematic Botany 13 (2): 153–197.

[V01] Vánky, K. 2001. The emended Ustilaginaceae of the modern classificatory system for smut fungi. Fungal Diversity 6: 131–147.

[W95] Wang, Q. 1995. A taxonomic revision of the Australian genus Phoracantha Newman (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae). Invertebrate Taxonomy 9: 865–958.

Last updated: 26 June 2020.

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