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Huon Pine

Lagarostrobos franklinii

Huon Pine
Classification
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Huon Pine • Lagarostrobos franklinii
The Huon pine is found in Tasmania and derived its name from the stands of pines that occurred along the Huon River. The river itself was named after Captain Huon Kermandec, commander of the French ship, L’Esperance. The Huon pine grows in the western and southern rainforests regions of Tasmania, largely confined to the riverine habitats.

The wood is famous for its rich golden texture, exquisite smell and touch. It is also one of the best boat-building timbers known to man, due to its durability and natural oil, making it resistant to water penetration. Prior to European settlement, the Huon pine existed in large numbers, but their unique qualities resulted in most being felled. That combined with mining and fire reduced them further. Today, the felling of Huon pine is now restricted and are protected within reserves with the majority being within World Heritage Area. Huon pines can be seen growing freely along the Denison River. Timber is still available through natural felling that provides craftsmen access to their wood.
 

Huon Pine at Teepookana Plateau, Tasmania.
 

Huon pine can reproduce both vegetatively ie from fallen individuals, and by seed. Although extremely slow growing, the trees can attain heights of over 40 m, and reach ages in excess of 2,000 years, making it among the longest-lived organism on earth. International headlines were made with the discovery of a stand of Huon pines on Mount Read, that were quoted as being in excess of 10,000 years of age. It was found that all the individuals in this population are genetically identical, and are all males. The stand arose from one or a small number of individuals, and has maintained itself by vegetative reproduction. In actual fact, no individual tree in the Mount Read stand is 10,000 years old, rather, the stand itself has been in existence for that long.

Source: Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment
 


Huon Pine at Teekoopana Plateau, Tasmania.Facts About Huon

  • Huon pine only grows in the cool, wet areas of southern and western Tasmania. It prefers to have ‘its feet in water’ so you will usually se it clinging to a rivers edge. Occasionally it grows in swampy areas, away from rivers and lakes, like those at Teepookana.
     

  • Other common names for the Huon Pine include: White Pine, Macquarie Pine, this is confusing as it is a podocarp (Podocarpaceae), and not a pine (Pinaceae).
     

  • Pollen records indicate that Huon pine was growing 135 million years ago, when the great super-continent known as ‘Gondwana’ existed. Although only found growing in Tasmania, it is related to species in Chile, Malaysia and New Zealand.
     

  • A 380 year old Huon pine, grows on average 1 mm per year.
     

  • Huon pine is Australia’s longest lived species. Trees older than 2,000 years have been found growing on Tasmania’s west coast. It is extremely slow growing. If you look at a cross section of the trunk, you can see how close the growth rings are.
     

  • The Huon pine is extremely durable and resists rot due to the presence of an essential oil called ‘methyl eugenol’. This is why it was, and still is, in such demand for boat building. Once cut, logs can remain intact, even in water, for thousands of years. Radio carbon dating indicates that two logs found recently in a west coast river were alive over 7,000 years ago.

Source: Forestry Tasmania

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Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Podocarpaceae
Genus: Lagarostrobos
Species: L. franklinii
Binomial name: Lagarostrobos franklinii

Huon Pine • Other links

Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment
Check out the information on Native Conifers of Tasmania.
Tasmanian Timber Promotion Board
• c/- Timber Research Unit, University of Tasmania • Email
Check out the Huon Pine link.

 

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