Araucaria angustifolia × araucana

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Genus

Glossary

hybrid
Plant originating from the cross-fertilisation of genetically distinct individuals (e.g. two species or two subspecies).

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A hybrid between A. angustifolia and A. araucana probably first arose in a plantation forestry environment in Argentina sometime in the late 19th or early 20th century. Occasional speculation that it could have occurred ‘in the wild’ is simply false: the natural ranges of the parent species are separated by a distance of c. 1,000 km.

The confusion is perhaps a result of the natural occurrence of both species in Argentina, albeit that A. araucana occurs in a narrow area of the Andes and A. angustifolia in an equally narrow area of the extreme north-east of the country, close to the borders with Paraguay and Brazil (Thomas, P. (2016)). Furthermore, A. angustifolia is grown as an ornamental in Chile where it can be seen in parks in towns and cities, particularly those in the central valley and near the coast between Santiago and Valdivia (pers. obs.). Its use in these locations is understandable given the innate desire to cultivate one of the nation’s most famous trees, but finding their native A. araucana poorly suited to the intense summer heat of lower elevations, Chilean nurserymen have turned to A. angustifolia.

The hybrid is cultivated at the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh, NC, USA (JC Raulston Arboretum (2018)) and has been offered for sale by a nursery in the same area, which obtained seed from Argentina and bred it themselves (Plant Delights Nursery Inc. (2018)). It is also in cultivation in Europe, at the RHS Wisley garden in Surrey, UK, where there is a plant that was sourced from the Madrona nursery, Kent, in 2014, and another that was planted in 2012 but has since died (pers. comm. J. Armitage, 2018). A young tree of unknown origin growing at Bicton Park Botanical Gardens, Devon, probably belongs here.

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