Belfast Botanic Gardens Tree Archive

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This is one of a series of short articles about trees in the Belfast Botanic Gardens compiled by the Friends group. The tree tag number relates to the small aluminium discs, usually fixed on the tree trunk, 2 to 3m above ground level.
Family: Araucariaceae
Araucaria heterophylla (Salisb.) Franco
Norfolk Island pine

Tag -
54o 35.010N
5o 56.008W
This month we are staying in the relative warmth of the palm house to look at a member of the monkey puzzle family. It is, of cause, not a pine, belonging to the family Araucariaceae. The familiar monkey puzzle, Araucaria araucana, is hardy and has thrived in Northern Ireland since introduced shortly after 1844. It is now an icon of the Victorian age that is still planted, sometimes in totally unsuitable front gardens where it can grow to over 30m high! The Norfolk Island pine is much less well known, as it is frost tender, surviving out of doors only on Tresco in the Scilly Isles. It is one of the most distinctive and elegant trees when fully grown with an amazing symmetry. It is native to a single island north of New Zealand but is cultivated in many warm countries round the world.The two trees in the Botanic Gardens Palm House are only a few years old, but are already quite striking.
Since writing this in 2014, a Norfolk Island pine has been planted out of doors in Mount Stewart Garden where it seems to be doing well. Yet another sign of climate change.
Photos taken in Belfast Botanic Gardens in 2014. Copyright: Friends of Belfast Botanic