We have a magnificent Hoop Pine tree (Araucaria cunninghamii) growing in what we call the cabin circle at Booyong.
It’s a large native species commonly found in Queensland and New South Wales. The tree can grow up to 60m and the largest hoop pine recorded in Australia is 42.5m tall and can live up to 450 years. It’s appropriately named for the horizontal nature of its outer bark and I would also think for the nature of the pine leaves. Fruits form near the top of the tree so they can be dispersed by wind and the pine cones are both male and female on the tree and females don’t form until the tree is 200 years old – Wow!
Favourites of the tree include the sulphur crested white cockatoos and our local lace monitor who loves to climb it and camouflage’s himself perfectly on the bark of the tree.
The Hoop Pine timber has been grown in Queensland plantations since the 1980’s and after 50 years is harvested and used for plywood. The wood is soft and light coloured, almost white with a straight grain and fine texture. It is considered easy to work with and accepts a variety of stains and finishes being used for flooring, boat building and furniture. Historically it used as a source of timber for sailing ship masts.