Araucaria in coastal Georgia?

arauquoia(z7b GA)June 2, 2004

On a trip to So. Calif., I collected seed for various Araucaria species (cunninghamia, columnaris, bidwillii, rulei, angustifolia) and two Agathis species (robusta, australis).

The Atlanta Botanical Garden has a big A. angustifolia just outside the conservatory -- to the left of the entrance.

Does anyone in Georgia have any experience with these? Typically, these trees are not hardy. What has your experience been with these trees in South Georgia and especially along coastal Georgia?

A more common Araucaria is the heterophylla, commonly Norfolk Island Pine. Do these survive outdoors anywhere in Georgia? Have you spied specimens in South Georgia that have overwintered?

Thanks for your observations.

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wilmington_islander(9A/Sunset 28)

I know nothing of the araucarias, but I can tell you there are no Norfolk Island Pines in anywhere in Georgia...

    Bookmark   June 3, 2004 at 3:35PM
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arauquoia(z7b GA)

The Norfolk Island Pine is an Araucaria (heterophylla). You say there are no specimens in Georgia?

I've seen small ones outside in coastal Georgia, but I don't know how many -- if any -- winters they have survived.

If they don't manage in Georgia, where along the coast do you start seeing them?

    Bookmark   June 7, 2004 at 4:31PM
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wilmington_islander(9A/Sunset 28)

Where have you seen them? I guess, when small, they may resemble other conifers, and I just haven't noticed them myself. However, I still maintain that there won't be any Norfolk Island specimens here..I know a guy who planted a 15 foot trunked coconut tree in inland Bryan County Georgia, where it was planted on the banks of a pond and most of the trunk was actually over the water ( it was curved). This coconut lived for 3 years....but there aren't ANY coconuts here..know what I mean? I have seen some ignorant ( meaning lack of knowledge not an epithet) people here plant Christmas Plams and all other sorts of plants that will be "annuals" here...but they just don't know any better.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2004 at 9:22AM
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Do you mean a monkey puzzle tree?

    Bookmark   June 9, 2004 at 7:51PM
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wilmington_islander(9A/Sunset 28)

Now, there are Monkey Puzzle trees here; I've sen them...but they are different than the Norfolk Island Pine...and much cold hardier to boot. I have seen large monkey puzzle trees in zone 7b as well. I think you need a solid 9b climate to have the Norfolk...which to me would be within a mile or two of the beach...starting about a good hour south of the Georgia coast

    Bookmark   June 10, 2004 at 8:57AM
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Where can we see a monkey puzzle?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2004 at 8:45PM
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arauquoia(z7b GA)

Dear Savannahrose,

A poster on another forum has this to say about monkey puzzle in Georgia:

"I know of 4 Araucaria araucana planted in my town (Willacoochee Georgia) around the mid 1940's.
They are huge and seemed to have no problem growing whatsoever.

"Btw, Willacoochee is just north of Valdosta, between Waycross and Tifton, so fairly far south georgia."

    Bookmark   June 11, 2004 at 11:20AM
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wilmington_islander(9A/Sunset 28)

Also some in Bainbridge and Dublin.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2004 at 12:04PM
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arauquoia(z7b GA)

About these monkey puzzle trees (Araucaria aruacana): Yes, they are cold-hardier, but they also suffer in our hot, humid climate come August.

I raised the possibility that the trees that people are referring to might be Cunninghamia lanceolata, also sometimes called monkey puzzle (but more commonly referred to as China fir and, very occasionally, as mother-in-law tree) because of the resemblance to A. araucana.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2004 at 12:47AM
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raymikematt(z7b SC)

I agree, Monkey Puzzle didnt make it the first summer here in the Upstate South Carolina area. It breezed through the winter though, with no damage at all. They do better in areas with cooler summers like the Pacific Northwest or even in the mid-Atlantic states. Bunya-Bunya was the opposite for me. They loved the hot muggy summer but got fried on a few cold nights (althogh they survived) they never looked right and grew very slow and eventually had to be removed.
Yep, that Brazilian Parana Pine in front of the conservatory at Atlanta Botanical gardens in awesome!! I would say that might be hardy on the coast. Also, Bunya Bunya would be too.
Norfolk Island Pine might make it in a protected spot on one of the coastal Georgia Islands for a while but eventually, would die. However, Some of these coastal areas, in protected spots, have solid zone 10a winters for several consecutive years in a row, so if your in one of those spots, why not try the Norfolk outside?
Good Luck

    Bookmark   June 25, 2004 at 8:12PM
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arauquoia(z7b GA)

Dear raymikematt,

I did put out a Norfolk Pine last summer on Tybee. I just checked on it. It's doing beautifully. But last winter was pretty mild, don't you think?

I've noticed, in other areas that are just on the edge of hardiness, that mature specimens can survive the occasional severe winter. For instance, the mature Norfolk Pines in San Francisco and the mature Bunya-Bunyas even farther north and inland in California (e.g., northeastern Sonoma County) survived the severe freeze circa 1990-91 -- even when they lost all their needles.

What do you think of these reports of A. araucana in Georgia? Do you think these are more likely Cunninghamia lanceolata?

    Bookmark   June 28, 2004 at 4:28PM
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wilmington_islander(9A/Sunset 28)

Last winter was mild one on the GA. coast as far as absoulte low temps go...I'd doubt that Tybee even saw low was 26 on Wilminton Island. Give it a try! But know that one of these days...maybe next year, maybe 5 10 or 25....but it'll happen. However, the lowest temps recorded here on the N. Ga coast in the past 8 years happened in January of 2003...and the Beachfron on Tybee only hit 27.."interior" Tybee saw temps in the 21-23 range.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2004 at 12:22PM
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raymikematt(z7b SC)

Cunninghamia lanceolata is a fairly common tree around where I live in Upstate SC. I have a nice medium sized one, the neighbors have a huge one, several more down the road. I dont think they would have mistaken Monkey Puzzle with this, however they are very similar. I guess If the trees got large enough and were planted in a shady, cool spot, they might do ok. Try Bunya-Bunya or Parana, they are sure to do fine in coastal Ga.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2004 at 11:23PM
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chad1(z10 FL)

The true Norfolk Island Pine, Araucaria heterophylla, is actually quite rare in the US. The tree commonly called "Norfolk Island Pine" in the US is actually Aracuaria columnaris (from New Caledonia). Seed of A. columnaris is plentiful in Hawaii and this is the seed source for nurseries in the US. I live in Miami, FL and have yet to see a true A. heterophylla, although I've heard that some trees planted before the introduction of A. columnaris can be found on old homesites.

True A. heterophylla is a much more conical tree than A. columnaris with a straight trunk in contrast to the always slightly leaning trunk of A. columnaris.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2004 at 5:34PM
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mistiaggie(z9A Tx)

Not sure if anyone is still interested, but there were two, now just one in the Koreshan State Park in Ft. Myers. One blew down in Hurricane Charlie. We also recently spotted one in Sebring, FL which is about 1.5 hours from Ft. Myers. I believe we were also told there was one in Melbourne, Fl, though we have not seen it. So, they can survive in Florida. We are trying seeds and one has a tap root (curious husband pulled it up) and the others we are patiently waiting.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2004 at 8:30PM
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LoraxDave(z7B Alabama)

There are a lot of Norfolk Island Pines now in New Orleans landscapes. But, I'm sure they are mid-term plants down there at best. There aren't any mature specimens like you see in South Florida. N.O. has simply escaped a damaging freeze for years -- there are also various other tropical "houseplant" attaining some size in local landscapes. So maybe N.I. Pine could do okay for awhile outdoors in coastal Georgia, but I would expect your luck to run out sooner rather than later!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2005 at 10:32AM
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goldpianogarden(z9, S.E. GA)

I tried the monkey puzzle tree (5 of them) in Brunswick, GA, but (like everyone has said so far) they hate our humidity and all slowly died. I have a few bunya bunya. They're okay. The only thing I don't like is that if the leaves get burnt by a bad frost, it can take a year for them to ever fall off and be replaced by new ones. So, they can look ratty for a long time. My biggest one has grown beautifully the past 2 winters now, though, without any freeze burn. Barry

    Bookmark   February 6, 2005 at 1:52PM
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Hi Arauquoia,

Did you ever get the Araucaria rulei seed to germinate?

I would like to grow New Caledonian Araucaria, even if just as houseplants.


    Bookmark   February 15, 2005 at 4:16PM
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jasonpseaux(9a LA)

A. Augustifolia (Paraná Pine) is hardy as far north as Zone 7.

I'm looking for seeds if anyone has them....

    Bookmark   May 10, 2005 at 1:30PM
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Hi Jason,

Sheffield's seeds sell them.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2005 at 12:55PM
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arauquoia(z7b GA)

The following are doing well on Tybee Island, Georgia for one to three years now:

Araucaria bidwillii
Araucaria heterophylla (or columnaris)
Araucaria bernieri (or biramulata)
Araucaria cunninghamia
Agathis lanceolata (?)

    Bookmark   January 4, 2007 at 12:24PM
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raymikematt(z7b SC)

There is a nice, 10-12 foot tall Norfolk Island Pine at a hotel on Jekyll Island. Also, while on Jekyll I saw another, similarly sized one planted on the side of a house. I also have heard that there are several in St. Marys Ga., one that is a 20 footer.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2007 at 7:24PM
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Does anyone know where I can buy a couple of the Bidwillii bunya bunya trees ? I have a client who is insistant upon having them. Good to see they are in Tybee

    Bookmark   January 24, 2007 at 11:36AM
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I bought a house about 3 years ago which had a tree that no one could identify.....finally a local Nursery Owner was at my property and saw it and said it was most definitely a "Monkey Puzzle" Tree.
Araucaria Bidwillii
I have since confirmed this.
I live in Kingsland,Ga........300 yards from Florida right along I-95.
This Tree appears to be about 100 years old as it is about 35-45 feet tall.
It is in good a matter of fact once I knew what it was....and how rare it was in this part of the world....I immediately had a couple small Water Oaks removed which were crowding it.
It will now get much better air circulation.
I can live with the razor sharp droppings now that I know I own such an unusual tree and have quite the topic of conversation.
So,I can attest that this species can,and does,survive in Coastal Georgia.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 4:17PM
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My local nursery has a nice big one for some $ 300.00 dollars. The only species hardy enough for me in NJ Zone 7 is Araucaria Araucana (and also true for most of Georgia), but as a previous poster noted, HEAT is also a problem for Araucarias. A. bidwilli has failed for me in zone 7 due to cold. I don't have 300 dollars so I settle for a large Norfolk island that gets some winter protection and a small Monkey Puzzle bought off eBay. This is not really a tree well adapted to the rigors of life in North America so I try to pass them by.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 6:04PM
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What is the difference between a Bidwilli and an Araucana?
I was told by the local "expert" that mine was an Araucaria Bidwillii also known as a "Monkey Puzzle" Tree.
Is it one and the same?
Is Bidwillii just one "kind" of Monkey Puzzle?
Sorry,I have this nice specimen but don't know anything about them!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 5:51PM
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Araucaria bidwilli is also known as the bunya bunya tree. Araucaria araucana (a.k.a. monkey puzzle tree) is a different species of the same genus. Of the two, araucana is hardier-- to zone 7. Check the hardiness of the bidswilli before planting. As I said, I made the mistake of confusing the two and lost the bidwilli, while the araucana would have survived. But coastal Georgia is probably mild enough for either species but heat tolerance is also a factor and I don't know which of these two is more heat tolerant.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 1:21PM
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Thanks for the reply.
So,the Araucaria Bidwillii is "not" a Monkey Puzzle Tree?
It's either a Bidwillii,"or" a Monkey Puzzle?
The Nurseryman who identified the Tree said it was a Bidwillii "also known as" the Monkey Puzzle Tree?
Sorry for all the questions,it's just that now that I know I have this rare tree I would like to know exactly what it is.
Can you tell me how to tell whether it is a Bidwillii or a Araucana?
Thanks again for all the help!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 3:13PM
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fairfield8619(Zone 8 NW LA)

I have heard Araucaria Bidwillii called Monkey Puzzle, and
Araucaria Araucana called Monkey Puzzle and also Cunninghamia lanceolata called Monkey Puzzle.
This is the reason we have latin names for plants, so there is no confusion. MrPadre, if the tree is really that large and old my guess is that it is Cunninghamia lanceolata also known as China Fir, see what I mean! The bidwillii doesn't like much cold and the Araucaria doesn't like much heat. Cunninghamias were popular around that time and can take both heat and cold.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 10:32PM
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Would you settle for coastal Virginia? Pictured here is the Araucaria araucana or true Monkey Puzzle Tree native to South America. This one can be found in the Norfolk Zoological Park.
Note the highly structured tiers of branches usually in whorls of 5, very stiff and formal. IMO nothing remotely like China Fir. This one has male cones which are spent and pointing down.
Specimens such as this are extremely rare on the east coast of U.S.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 3:29PM
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raymikematt(z7b SC)

Arauquoia, its been a few years. How is that Norfolk Pine you planted on Tybee? I am on another hardy palm forum and last fall someone posted some beautiful pics of tropical plants on Tybee. One of the pics showed a relatively large Norfolk Island Pine in good condition...wonder if that was yours? I Was on Jekyll and SSI a couple weeks back and they seem to be more commonly planted now.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 9:17PM
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