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Family: Araucariaceae

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Gymnospermae > Coniferophyta

Three genera (Wollemia, Agathis and Araucaria) and 41 living species, distributed in the Southern Hemisphere but not native to Africa. Fossils have been found dating back to the Jurassic and the family was once more widespread, occurring in both hemispheres. [Is there any fossil material from Africa?]. Species of Agathis and Araucaria are cultivated in urban areas of southern Africa as garden and roadside trees. The genus Wollemia contains a single species Wollemia nobilis, which is considered the most basal species in the Araucariaceae family tree and which, amazingly, was discovered as recently as 1994 in New South Wales, Australia. As far as is known, it has not yet been cultivated in southern Africa.

Genera cultivated in southern Africa

Information from Glen (2002)

Agathis (kauri genus)

The 21 species in this genus of coniferous trees have an indigenous distribution covering Australia (Queensland), New Zealand and SE Asia, where they are found mainly in rainforest. Six species have been cultivated in southern Africa.

Araucaria (Monkey puzzle genus)

A genus of coniferous tree with 19 living species of which 13 are endemic to the island of New Caledonia. The remaining species are native to Australia, New Guinea, Chile, Argentina and southern Brazil. A number of species have been cultivated as garden trees round the world of which seven have been grown in southern Africa.



  • Glen, H.F. 2002. Cultivated Plants of Southern Africa. Jacana, Johannesburg.


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