Common Name(s): Araucaria, pine (tropical)
Distribution: Primarily tropical regions in the Southern Hemisphere
Genus Size: Approximately 20 species (many of which are endemic to the island of New Caledonia)
Mechanical Characteristics: Generally moderate density with good strength characteristics for a softwood. Commercial timbers such as Parana pine fall somewhere between ponderosa pine and southern yellow pine on the spectrum of mechanical characteristics.
Visual Characteristics: Generally both sapwood and heartwood are a light brown, sometimes with a yellow or red hue. Some species are prone to blue/gray fungal staining, particularly if not dried properly.
Identification: Unlike true pines in the Pinus genus, Araucaria lacks resin canals. Trachied diameter is usually medium-large. Some species appear to have rather wide and conspicuous rays when viewed from the endgrain.
Comments: Araucaria species, though confined to the Southern Hemisphere, have a rather diverse distribution, being found from South America, all the way to Norfolk Island and New Caledonia in the Pacific Ocean.
Although many species are commonly referred to as “pine”—they are not true pine species in the strict sense. However, the trees and wood appear very similar and are used for many of the same purposes.