Norfolk Island Pine

Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla)
Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla)

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Common Name(s): Norfolk Island Pine

Scientific Name: Araucaria heterophylla

Distribution: Endemic to Norfolk Island (also planted as an ornamental tree)

Tree Size: 165-230 ft (50-70 m) tall, 4-6 ft (1.2-1.8 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 31 lbs/ft3 (495 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .43, .50

Janka Hardness: 650 lbf (2,890 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 11,730 lbf/in2 (80.9 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 1,723,000 lbf/in2 (11.89 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 6,420 lbf/in2 (44.3 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: 3.5%, Tangential: 5.3%, Volumetric: 8.9%, T/R Ratio: 1.5

Color/Appearance: Heartwood is light brown, sometimes with a yellow or red hue. Paler sapwood isn’t clearly defined. Sometimes afflicted with blue/gray fungal staining, particularly if not dried properly. (In certain applications this staining is considered decorative, particularly when the wood also features contrasting reddish knots.)

Grain/Texture: Grain is usually straight, with a fine to medium uniform texture. Moderate natural luster.

Endgrain: Resin canals absent; earlywood to latewood transition gradual, color contrast low; tracheid diameter medium-large.

Rot Resistance: Rated as non-durable to perishable; poor insect resistance. Also susceptible to fungal staining.

Workability: Clear sections of wood are easy to work with hand and machine tools. Sections with knots can be problematic and result in tearout or uneven sanding due to the difference in density of the two regions. Glues, finishes, and turns well.

Odor: No characteristic odor.

Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, wood in the Araucaria genus has been reported to cause skin irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Not generally harvested within its native range, occasional turning blanks and short craft lumber is available in areas where the tree has been planted as an ornamental. Expect prices to be in medium to high for an imported softwood.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices, but is on the IUCN Red List. It is listed as vulnerable due to a very restricted area of occupancy and/or number of locations.

Common Uses: Furniture, plywood, paper (pulpwood), turned objects, and small specialty wood items.

Comments: This species is only found on Norfolk Island, a small island about 900 miles east of Australia. Although the common name indicates this species is a pine, it’s not technically a true pine in the Pinus genus, which is essentially restricted to the northern hemisphere. However, Norfolk Island Pine is a member of the Araucaria genus, which could be considered a southern hemisphere counterpart to the Pinus genus.

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