12 Iconic Types Of Pine Trees In New Zealand

Did you know plantations cover over seven percent of New Zealand’s total area? Today, New Zealand has a total of around 10.1 million hectares of forested land that is home to a magnificent variety of animals, birds, and pine trees. Let’s learn more about the different types of pine trees in New Zealand and how they have adapted to its weather conditions.

New Zealand is a country of great natural beauty and a rich history that hosts native trees that date back hundreds of years. Today, the country has over 8 million hectares of native forests, and its government has made a significant effort to ensure the sustainability and growth of this land. Therefore, as you make your way through different parts of New Zealand, you will be left absolutely enchanted by the evergreen forests and the fauna that have made these trees their home.

Forestry in New Zealand is further supplemented by favorable weather conditions and climate patterns that promote plantation growth. Weather in this country varies wildly from one corner of the land to the other. The far north gets subtropical weather during the summer, while the South Island sees a drop to 14*F in the winter months.

The pine tree makes up huge forests in New Zealand and accommodates hundreds of species of birds and insects under its cover. One of the largest pine forests in New Zealand, the Kaingaroa Forest, invites tourists from around the world to experience the lush, cool spread of greenery and exotic wilderness found within. Ready to find out more about the many different types of pine found in this forest and across New Zealand? Continue reading below!

1. Radiata pine (Pinus radiata)

Pinus radiata
Forrest and Kim Starr Pinus radiata

The Radiata pine colonizes the edges of forest and scrub habitats in New Zealand. It can also be found in shrublands, tussock grasslands, and sand dunes, being one of the most grown timber pines around the country. This pine species is an evergreen conifer with an impressively dense crown, and the rich green foliage it creates is unusually deep.

2. Cook pine (Araucaria columnaris)

Araucaria Columnaris
tree Species Araucaria Columnaris

The Araucaria genus of pine has 19 different species that are indigenous to New Zealand. Among them is the Cook pine, a narrow, conical tree that reaches heights of over 60 meters. It has a gray bark which cord-like branchlets of 10-12 mm shooting out from one plane. The Cook pine grows over 30 – 60 cm per annum in moderately fertile, drained soil.

3. Norfolk Pine (Araucaria heterophylla)

(Araucaria heterophylla) Norfolk Island pines near Whakatāne, New Zealand.
CC0 (Araucaria heterophylla) Norfolk Island pines near Whakatāne, New Zealand.

One of the most iconic trees in New Zealand is the Norfolk Pine, also known as Araucaria Heterophylla. The tree has a number of features that make it popular with tourists and locals alike. These include its distinctive, bushy shape and large leaves; its height which ranges from 30 meters to 50 meters tall; and the fact that it can live up to 2000 years old. It’s not often you find a tree like this growing naturally in your garden or on your street, so if you’re visiting New Zealand, then be sure to see one for yourself!

4. Yellow silver pine (Lepidothamnus intermedius)

Lepidothamnus intermedius Yellow Silver Pine
Jack Osborne Lepidothamnus intermedius (Yellow Silver Pine)

Found only in New Zealand, the Yellow silver pine is considered somewhat of a specialty in the West Coast of the South Island. It is a small, straight tree that reaches a maximum of 15 meters and has spreading branches all around. The Yellow silver pine is a perennial, woody evergreen with a brown-gray bark and found in leaf all year around.

5. Yellow pine (Halocarpus biformis)

Halocarpus bidwillii in Wilderness Scientific Reserve Southland region South Island of New Zealand
Krzysztof Golik | wikimedia Halocarpus bidwillii in Wilderness Scientific Reserve Southland region South Island of New Zealand

Also called the pink pine, the Yellow pine is endemic to New Zealand. This coniferous tree reaches up to 10 meters in height and is commonly found in higher elevation areas like the volcanic plateaus of the North Island. The deciduous Yellow pine has a rounded crown that forms a tight shrub. The bark is silver-gray colored with stout branches that are covered with evergreen leaves.

6. Bishop pine (Pinus muricata)

Pinus muricata Bishop Pine
S. Rae Bishop Pine (Pinus muricata)

The Bishop pine is found in rather restrictive ranges, preferring disturbed, unvegetated areas where it would face lesser competition with other shrubs and tree species. This coniferous tree grows to heights up to 25 meters and has a trunk diameter of 1.2 meters. It is a drought-tolerant species of pine with a closed cone and dark gray bark.

7. Lodgepole / Shore pine (Pinus contorta)

Pinus contorta
Jason Hollinger Pinus contorta

With the species contorta, one should naturally expect twisted young shoots that contort into unusual shapes. The same can be found in the Lodgepole or Shore pine trees. The Lodgepole pine is a common tree in North America, found mostly near the shore or in dry, montane lands. It grows fairly fast, reaching 10 meters in height generally. However, some Lodgepole pine trees do cross over 33 meters, with the oldest ones being more than 200 years old.

8. Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa)

Pinus ponderosa
Forrest and Kim Starr Pinus ponderosa

The Ponderosa pine is a perennial evergreen conifer with tall, thick trunks that are completely straight and have scaled, rust-orange colored barks. The bark often smells like vanilla, which is a great way to identify this tree. They reach over 60 meters in height, with trunks that are 1 to 1.5 meters across. Named for its heavy (ponderous) wood, this pine is one o the main lumber trees of New Zealand.

9. Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris)

Scots Pine Pinus Silvestris
Scots Pine (Pinus Silvestris)

This fast-growing, conical evergreen conifer is medium-sized, found in heights up to 35 meters. It has a peculiar flaking orange bark that ranges from light shades to darker red-brown colors. The Scots pine is quite long-lived, thriving for up to 700 years. This species of pine is mostly grown on sandy, nutrient-poor soils and peat bogs by the forest limit.

10. Maritime pine (Pinus pinaster)

Pinus Pinaster
EduArt65 Pinus Pinaster

Used worldwide for herbal remedies, supplemental foods, and the cure to numerous degenerative diseases, the Maritime pine is quite a useful coniferous tree. It grows rapidly for the first 60 years of its life, increasing up to 15 cm annually, after which the growth rate declines. The Maritime pine reaches heights of 40 meters and has long clean dark red stems.

11. Corsican pine (Pinus nigra)

Pinus nigra
Ashley Basil Pinus nigra

The Corsican pine is a conifer that is used as a timber tree by the forestry industry in many countries around the world. It is a fast=growing species of pine, increasing about 30 to 40 cm per year and reaching heights of more than 50 meters. This pine tree grows well in sunny climates, with the pollen cones appearing during the warmer months of May to June.

12. Dwarf Mountain pine (Pinus mugo)

Pinus mugo
S. Rae Pinus mugo

Growing at its best under the hot sun and well-drained soils, the Dwarf Mountain pine can easily handle different pH conditions and is even considered drought-tolerant. It is an evergreen mountain pine that forms a dense, circular crown with a flattened top. It grows a maximum of one meter in height, taking over ten years to reach there. This makes it the perfect pine tree to grow in your backyard or along your flowerbeds.