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Are Pine Trees Native to Australia? [Answered]

While Pinus radiata is not native to Australia, there are numerous species of conifers that are and are not found in any other countries of the world.

The common pine trees (Pinus radiata) are not native to Australia. However, these have been grown in pine plantations for many years and some have become naturalised on their own.

Pinus radiata | Plant varieties

Pinus radiata is a conifer. It belongs to the genus Pinus and shares the typical characteristics of conifers, such as:

  • Needle-like Leaves: These leaves are adapted to conserve water, making the tree resilient in various climates.
  • Cones: Like other conifers, Pinus radiata produces cones that contain seeds. The cones’ structure helps in wind dispersal of the seeds.
  • Evergreen Nature: Most Pinus radiata trees remain green throughout the year, a common trait among conifers.

While Pinus radiata is not native to Australia, there are numerous species of conifers that are and are not found in any other countries of the world.

Many of these species are not as abundant as they once were due to logging practices as they’re highly prized for their timber.

Here’s a rundown of the native species of conifers that are endemic to Australia.

Bunya Pine (Araucaria bidwillii)

Bunya Pine Araucaria bidwillii | Plant varieties

The Bunya pine is a majestic tree that has a very distinctive shape and growth pattern.

I remember when I lived in Queensland and visited a Bunya pine forest, I was just amazed at the beauty of these ancient trees.

The tree has a dome shape and produces huge, heavy seed cones that are commonly known as bunya nuts. These are actually edible.

Cypress Pine (Callitris baileyi)

Cypress Pine Callitris baileyi | Plant varieties

Many people would be familiar with the cypress pine because it is commonly used for landscaping.

It’s also popular for its timber which has been used often for fencing and telegraph poles.

Other native pines in the Callistris genus include:

  • C. acuminata (Moore Cypress Pine)
  • C. arenaria (Bruce Cypress Pine)
  • C. canescens (Scrubby Cypress Pine)
  • C. columeliaris (Coast Cypress Pine)
  • C. endiicheri (Black Cypress Pine)
  • C. oblonga (Pigmy Cypress Pine)

Hoop Pine (Araucaria cunninghamii)

Hoop Pine Araucaria cunninghamii | Plant varieties

The hoop pine is found in Queensland and NSW. It is also commonly known as the Moreton Bay pine.

It’s an attractive species and can make a lovely living Christmas tree when grown in a large pot.

Huon Pine (Lagarostrobos franklinii)

Huon Pine Lagarostrobos franklinii | Plant varieties

The stunning huon pine is also native to Tasmania. It is very slow-growing but can live for over 2000 years.

The huon pine is now a protected species as its numbers have declined due to harvesting the tree for its prized timber.

Celery-topped Pine (Phyllocladus aspleniifolius)

The celery-topped pine is endemic to Tasmania and grows in rainforest areas. It has quite a narrow growth habit but can reach up to 30 metres in height. 

The leaves of this species resemble the leaves of a celery plant although they’re much thicker and more leathery. This lovely tree is popular as a landscape tree and can be used for hedging.

Kauri Pine (Agathis robusta)

Kauri Pine Agathis robusta | Plant varieties

The kauri pine is native to Queensland, however, it’s not a true pine. It has leaves rather than needles, like other conifers.

This ancient tree dates back to the Jurassic age but its numbers have declined in its natural habitat due to heavy logging. 

The kauri pine is grown in cultivation and can make a great feature tree as it will only reach a height of around 6 metres. 

Other native pines in the Agathis genus include:

  • A. atropurpurea (Blue Pine)
  • A. microstachya (Atherton kauri)

Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla)

Norfolk Island Pine Araucaria heterophylla | Plant varieties

There’s no mistaking the distinctive shape of the Norfolk Island pine when you see one.

It has a very straight trunk and symmetrical branches that are often bare near the trunk with deep green foliage at the tips. 

This popular tree, which can be seen right along the eastern coast of Australia, is actually endemic to Norfolk Island. 

Plum Pine (Podocarpus elatus)

Plum Pine Podocarpus elatus | Plant varieties

This lovely tree is native to the east coast of Australia and its fruits are regarded as prime bush tucker. Once again, it’s not a true pine because it has leaves rather than needles.

The small round berry fruits that the tree produces are commonly known as Illawarra plums. They have a grape-like texture and are sweet in flavour with a hint of pine. 

Tasmanian Cedar (Athrotaxis spp.)

As you would imagine, this tree is also native to Tasmania. It has a lovely conical growth habit and can reach a height of up to 30 metres with a spread of around 5 metres.

There are two species in this genus, Athrotaxis cupressoides and Athrotaxis selaginoides

Photo of author

Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.

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