The Cook Pine Tree and Its Significance to Kauai
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Often confused with the Norfolk Island pine trees, the tall, green pine trees on Kauai are actually the Cook Pine trees. These trees have become a native landmark in Hawaii and is one of the most common and widespread trees of its species. This article will teach you about the importance of the Cook Pine tree and why it is favored compared to other trees.
What is the Cook Pine tree?
To scientists, the Cook Pine tree is known as the Araucaria columnaris. This unique pine tree can grow up to almost 200 feet tall, but you will usually find them at much smaller heights. They have short, horizontal branches and a straight main trunk. The branches tend to have more leaves than Norfolk pine trees. Both male and female Cook Pine trees have cones, but the females have larger cones that are about 6 inches long and 3 to 4 inches wide. Interesting enough, it’s rare to actually see a female’s cones on the ground because by the time they reach land, they shatter and spread tons of seeds.
What is the Norfolk Pine Tree?
The Norfolk Pine tree is scientifically regarded as Araucaria heterophylla and is often confused with Cook Pine trees. This is because when the trees are younger, it’s harder to tell the difference between the two of them. However, as they grow, it’s easier to tell them apart since Norfolk pines are wider with its branches being longer as well. The female’s cones tend to be 3 to 4 inches long, and while the scales resemble those of the Cook Pine, they tend to be thicker. If you hear someone describe the pine trees in Hawaii as the Norfolk Pine tree, it is quite possible that it’s actually the Cook Pine.
What Is the Cook Pine Tree Used for?
Many foresters will plant Cook Pine trees for lumber and reforestation. This is why you’ll find many throughout the island. An estimated 2 million board feet of Cook Pine has been harvested from Hawaii and Maui. The benefits of the Cook Pine are that while the wood is strong, it does not weigh a lot.
Many people on the island also use Cook Pine trees as their Christmas trees year-round. These trees have been identified as the “Hawaiian Christmas Tree” and bring joy to families each and every year.
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