Christmas Tree
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Christmas Tree
ntroduced Photo: Anil Thakur
Common name: Christmas Tree, Cook-pine, New Caledonia-pine • Mizo: Far-zar-mawi
Botanical name: Araucaria columnaris    Family: Araucariaceae (Monkey-puzzle family)

The Cook pine, called Christmas Tree in India, is a tree native to the Cook Island, north-east of Australia in the South Pacific. The bark of the Cook pine peels off in thin paper like sheets. Can reach 60 m in natural habit. But more commonly grown as a house-plant in pots. The relatively short, mostly horizontal branches are in whorls around the slender, upright to slightly leaning trunk. The branches are lined with cord-like, horizontal branchlets. The branchlets are covered with small, green, incurved, point-tipped, spirally arranged, overlapping leaves. The young leaves are needle-like, while the broader adult leaves are triangular and scale-like. The female seed cones are scaly, egg-shaped, and up to 6 inches (15 cm) long. The smaller, more numerous male pollen cones are at the tips of the branchlets and are scaly, foxtail-shaped, and 2 inches (5 cm) long. The bark peels off in papery strips and is rough, gray, and resinous. The trees have a slender, spire-like crown and look like unusually tall, thin Christmas trees.

Identification credit: Prashant Awale Photographed in Solan, Himachal Pradesh & Andaman & Nicobar.

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