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; members of Araucaria and Wollemia nobilis have rough, exfoliating barck, 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 Eckenwalder 2009): Evergreen trees with scalelike, clawlike, needlelike or broad-bladed, often multiveined leaves attached individually in a spiral arrangement or in distichous or criss-cross pairs. Branching usually very regular and horizontal, with most branches in widely separated alternating pairs or periodic near whorls of three or more (usually four to seven), producing a tiered appearance. Pollen cones usually comparatively large, single in axils of leaves or at tips of branches, often with distinctive bracts at base. Pollen scales very numerous, attached spirally or in whorls by long, slender stalk, with several elongate pollen sacs attached at one end to inside of outer expanded portion of pollen scale. Pollen grains spherical, without air bladders. Seed cones single and upright at tips of branches, generally shattering at maturity, fairly woody or leathery, without any fleshy structures. Seed scales very numerous, upper ovuliferous scale portion and lower bract portion nearly equal in length and either united with one another for almost their entire length or free for up to half of it. Seeds almost always single on seed scale, reltively large, wind dispersed, either via whole detached winglike seed scale in which seed is embedded or through highly asymmetrical pair of whings growing out from seed coat. Cotyledons four with single midvein or two with a pair of veins. Chromosome base number x = 13.

Araucariaceae [Araucarinae]
    |  i. s.: Araucarioides P00
    |         Araucarites Presl 1838 BO02
    |           |--A. cutchensis F71
    |           |--A. falsanii BO02
    |           `--A. janaianus BO02
    |--+--Wollemia nobilis MM12
    |  `--Agathis Salisbury 1807 MM12, A61
    |       |--A. alba JD05
    |       |--A. australis Salsb. 1807 (see below for synonymy) A61
    |       |--A. dammara M01
    |       |--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. brasiliensis MM96
         |--A. carinatus P00
         |--A. columnaria SK02
         |--A. cunninghamii GT02
         |--A. excelsa GT02
         |--A. fletcheri Selling 1950 F71
         |--A. heterophylla NM11
         |--A. imbricata V01
         |--A. macrophylla GT02
         `--A. mirabilis MM12

Agathis australis Salsb. 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.

Eckenwalder, J. E. 2009. Conifers of the World: the complete reference. Timber Press.

[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.

[M01] Mahunka, S. 2001. Oribatids from Brunei III (Acari: Oribatida). (Acarologica Genavensia XCI). Revue Suisse de Zoologie 108 (2): 317-349.

[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.

[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.

[SK02] Sumithramma, N., A. R. V. Kumar, K. Chandrashekara & D. Rajagopal. 2002. Plant selection for nesting by Oecophylla smaragdina, Hymenoptera: Formicidae: do physical features affect the choice of the plant? Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 99 (3): 408-412.

[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.

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