Australia is a huge piece of land with a magnificent variety of flora and fauna that thrives even under extreme weather conditions. People usually don’t expect to find pine trees in this country. However, as you drive through diverse Australian landscapes, you will notice quite a variety of pine trees dotting the country.
When we think of Australia, we usually picture dry, flat deserts and plateaus with kangaroos hopping about and koalas hung on huge trees. These massive trees are usually the numerous types of pine trees in Australia that thrive in this sixth-largest country in the world.
Australia’s geography is truly unique. It has everything, from arid deserts to fertile plains in the southeast region and enormous mountain ranges in the east. The summer season there lasts from December to February, with average temperatures ranging between 68 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. After February comes to a pleasant springtime, which is closely followed by cool winters from June to August, with the temperature falling to 37 degrees Fahrenheit.
Due to their evergreen nature, pine trees are conifers that can be found dotting many different regions of Australia. The most common plantation pines, belonging to the Radiata species, aren’t native to this country. However, they have become naturalized, allowing them to thrive under the Australian climate conditions. What is even more surprising is the fact that so many of the native conifers found in Australia have become endemic to this region, so you can’t find them anywhere else in the world!
Let’s take some time to learn more about the distinctive pine trees of Australia.
1. Mediterranean Pine (Pinus pinaster)
You may have heard of the Mediterranean Pine as the Maritime Pine. It is a fast-growing coniferous plant native to the western Mediterranean Sea, which accounts for its name. The Mediterranean Pine grows to medium heights of around 35 meters, with a rapid annual growth rate until it reaches the age of 60. These trees have long, robust needles and conic cones that are around 10 to 15 cm long.
2. Monterey Pine (Pinus radiata)
If your pine tree has round-looking branch ends and long needles, then chances are you’re looking at a Monterey Pine. These trees are best planted in the months of early spring or fall when the climate is favorable to their growth and allows them to increase over 90 cm per annum in height. By the time they reach maturity, these pine trees are well over 30 meters high.
3. Caribbean Pine (Pinus caribaea)
True to its name, the Caribbean Pine originates from the Northern West Indies countries like the Bahamas and the Caicos Islands. It is a lowland tropical evergreen tree that grows aggressively, even tolerating harsh conditions and thriving under them. These trees generally grow over 35 meters in height and the needles are found in bundles of 3, measuring up to 25 cm long.
4. Queensland Pine (Araucaria cunninghamii)
The Queensland Pine is also called the Hoop Pine because its outer layer of bark forms scaly horizontal rings that resemble hoops. It has fine, pointy leaves and ovoid cones about 10 cm long. These trees can easily give up to 450 years in various regions of Queensland and reach heights of 06 meters.
5. Bunya Pine (Araucaria bidwillii)
This large conifer tree is native to the highly humid areas of southeastern Queensland in Australia. Also called the False Monkey Puzzle Tree, these are considered a world heritage. The Bunya Pine can grow up to 45 meters and become self-sufficient within the first two years. They are known for their huge cones and needles that are considered a delicious treat.
6. Slash Pine (Pinus elliottii)
Slash Pines are fast-growing trees that attain heights of up to 60 cm per year. This eventually forms a huge tree reaching heights of 35 meters and more. The Slash Pine is found in swampy grounds with overgrown bushes and trees, causing it to be referred to as the swamp pine and yellow slash pine. These trees aren’t very long-lived and have needles in pairs of 2.
7. Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla)
The Norfolk Island pine is a striking ornamental tree with an interesting history. It was originally discovered by Europeans on the island of Norfolk, hence its name. They are native to Australia and New Zealand but were introduced to England in 1768 when they were first taken there as botanical curiosities. The trees have been popular ever since then because they grow well in poor soils and are long-lived – living for up to 2 thousand years!