Information about plants & gardens for Brisbane & Qld
The densely foliaged, geometrical shapes of many conifers makes them popular worldwide for formal gardens, but many gardeners appreciate them for their evergreen pine-scented foliage.
Conifers range in form from low prostrate growth habit to towering trees. Depending on the variety, there are conifers for groundcovers, feature specimens or hedges, and there are conifers for small gardens and large estates.
Next generation for Isis Scrub hoop pine
Seeds from a survivor of the original Isis Scrub, a giant hoop pine 200 or more years old, have been collected so that seedlings can be planted in the Childers district as well as Bundaberg Botanic Gardens. Source: Relic from Isis Scrub gives new hope to rare Hoop Pine (January 2014)Older news at bottom of page.
Nurseries supplying garden conifers to Qld
Garden centres will carry a few popular landscaping lines. For a wider selection, consult a conifer nursery or other nursery specialising in conifers. If you specifically want trees in large sizes for instant landscapes, try Advanced Plants nurseries.
For the most up-to-date information on plants in stock, opening hours, prices etc, be sure to visit the seller's website or contact the business directly.
This section is intended for nurseries which might be considered conifer specialists, for customers seeking a greater selection or rare varieties. If you operate such a nursery, click here: Advertising information.
Conifers don't produce flowers, but more primitive cones. Many are commonly referred to as "Pines", even if they don't belong to the genus Pinus. There are species that grow in tropical regions, and others in very cold parts of the world.
Many of the popular ornamental conifers for gardens come from the Northern Hemisphere. Queenslanders, especially residents of the subtropical and tropical zones, should make sure the varieties they select are suitable for their climate and give them appropriate care.
This is especially important if the plants are to be used in formal applications, such as hedges, avenue or framing an entranceway because the effect will be spoiled if the plants grow unevenly.
When specimens of uniform texture and growth rate will be required, look for vegetatively propagated (cuttings or grafted) stock of named cutivars from reputable suppliers.
Even in the case of single feature plants, named (vegetatively propagated) cultivars selected for superior form and foliage characteristics will be preferable to less predictable plants from seed, Propensity to produce cones may be another characteristic to look for when selecting a cultivar. If the conifer is being grown for its foliage (e.g. pencil pines), cones can be unattractive and divert energy from vegetative growth.
The Bunya Pine and the Wollemi Pine are two Australian native conifers appreciated for their ornamental qualities, but are far too large for ordinary garden cultivation (although the Wollemi pine is being promoted as a pot plant). In the future, perhaps other native conifers will be developed for ornamental use.
The so-called "Daintree Pine" is actually a member of the Casuarina family. Gymnostoma australianum, from the Daintree rainforest of North Queensland, has a coniferous appearance and could be subsituted for conifers where a Mediterranean look or a home-grown Christmas tree is wanted in a tropical climate. (for more information on Gymnostoma, go to the Casuarina page.
Take care with pruning, as conifers are unlikely to reshoot from old wood. A lillypilly or murraya hedge might be cut back hard and be the better for it. A conifer hedge, however, will need regular attention to develop bushiness, then to maintain size and shape when mature. See also the general topics Pruning Hedges and Topiary and Bonsai as well as information on individial species (below)
More Online Information
Please Note: The following are for general information or research. Many species or cultivars referred to in links may be unavailable in Australia, or unsuitable for Queensland conditions.
What is a conifer ? Australia National Botanic Gardens
Conifers Overview of the group and some of the plant families included. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, U.K.
Enjoy the Diversity of Conifers University of Illinois Extension
Gymnosperm Database information about gymnosperms around the world
Arboretum de Villardebelle, South-West France. mainly dedicated to Gymnosperms
Conifer Questions and Answers US National Arboretum
Selecting Conifers for the Garden US National Arboretum
Conifers at the Craven County Agricultural Building Notes on a variety of species and cultivars. North Carolina
Non-wood forest products from conifers Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Conifers in the subtropics and tropics
Climatic requirements of tropical and subtropical conifers in: An International Review of Forestry and Forest Products, The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Materials Technology - Timber/wood Industrial Technology and Design Teachers' Association of Queensland. There are some nice summaries covering various Australian native conifers here, with special reference to Queensland
Plant Diversity - The Conifers Wet Tropics Management Authority, Qld
Cypress decline Agriculture Victoria
Cypress Canker - fact sheet Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney
Cypress Canker (Seiridium spp.) Department of Agriculture Western Australia (PDF)
Cypress Canker Plant Protection Institute, Italy (PDF)
Training Evergreens (conifers) University of Illinois
Good Hedges Make Good Neighbors US National Arboretum
Pruning Coniferous Evergreens Arizona Cooperative Extension, Yavapai County
Pruning Evergreens Morton Arboretum, Illinois
Consider The Time Of Year Before Pruning Conifers University of California Cooperative Extension
Araucaria, Wollemia, other Araucariaceae
Systematics of Agathis (Araucariaceae) Timothy Waters, Oxford Unviersity, U.K.
Araucaria bidwillii (Bunya pine) Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants
Bunya Pine (Araucaria bidwillii Hook) Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries
Araucaria bidwillii The Taxonomy Research & Information Network
Araucaria cunninghamii Hoop Pine. Australian National Botanic Gardens
Araucaria cunninghamii (Hoop pine) Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants
Lamington National Park Website The University of Queensland Check under "Flora of Lamington" species descriptions for information on Hoop Pine
Araucaria cunninghamii (Hoop pine) Brisbane Rainforest Action & Information Network
Significance of Hoop Pine Rainforest Brisbane Rainforest Action & Information Network
Hoop Pine (Araucaria cunninghamii) Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries
Araucaria cunninghamii The Taxonomy Research & Information Network
Araucaria cunninghamii Ecocrop database, FAO
Norfolk Island Pine Araucaria heterophylla Ornamentals for the Texas Gulf Coast (Texas A&M University)
Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla) University of Arkansas
Influence of Transplanting Depth on Norfolk Island Pine Growth and Quality University of Florida, USA
Araucaria columnaris Trees of Miami, Florida, USA (note: author calls this "Norfolk Island Pine")
Pacific flora database of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, USA. Select Araucaria columnaris (New Caledonia Pine) from the "Choose A Plant" menu.
The Wollemi Pine Official website
Global Trees Campaign includes information of many endangered species worldwide including Wollemi pine
Agathis robusta The Taxonomy Research & Information Network
Agathis robusta Flowers of India
Agathis atropurpurea The Taxonomy Research & Information Network
Agathis microstachya The Taxonomy Research & Information Network
Callitris The National Forestry Education and Awareness Network, Australia
Australian forest profiles: Callitris Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and ForestryNorthern cypress (Callitris intratropica syn. C. columellaris var. intratropica) Dept of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Queensland
Callitris columellaris F.Muell. PlantNET, Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust, Sydney
White cypress (Callitris glaucophylla) Dept of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Queensland
Callitris glaucophylla FloraBank
Northern cypress pine (Callitris glaucophylla) The Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden, South Australia
Callitris glaucophylla at the "A View from Yallaroo" website, NSW
Stringybark Pine (Callistris macleayana) Flora of Lamington National Park, Qld
Callitris endlicheri FloraBank
Callitris rhomboidea Port Jackson Pine. Australian National Botanic Gardens
Callitris intratropica Cypress pine. James Cook University, Qld
Callitris endlicheri at the "A View from Yallaroo" website, NSW
Callitris oblonga at the "A View from Yallaroo" website, NSW
Leyland Cypress Latin: (Cupressocyparis leylandii) University of Arkansas
Leyland Cypress (X Cupressocyparis leylandii) Online Manual of Subtropical Landscaping Plants, Palm Beach Community College, Florida
Drought Stress, What does it mean to wooody ornamentals? in: "What's Happening" September 23, 2005. University of Tennessee Extension Service (including reference to Leyland Cypress)
Cypress Leylands gradually dying Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture
The Pencil Pine (Cupressus sempervirens) has been given its own page here: Pencil Pines
Cupressaceae Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria
Arizona Cypress: A Plant Dinosaur (Cupressus arizonica) Backyard Gardener column, July 8, 1998. Arizona Cooperative Extension, University of Arizona
Junipers Fort Valley State University, Georgia
Juniperus Ohio State University
Junipers University of Georgia
Landscape junipers North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service
Juniperus Ohio State University
Bread and Butter--the Junipers Michigan State University
Junipers in Florida University of Florida
Junipers in the Landscape Ohio State University
Juniperous chinensis 'Spartan' North Carolina State University
Juniperus chinensis--Chinese Juniper Michigan State University
Juniperus communis Grassland species, FAO
Juniperus conferta 'Blue Pacific' Auburn University, Alabama
Juniperus conferta--Shore Juniper Michigan State University Extension
Juniperus conferta North Carolina State University
Shore juniper Virginia Tech
Juniperus horizontalis--Creeping Juniper Michigan State University Extension
Juniperus horizontalis 'Wiltonii' Auburn University, Alabama
Creeping juniper (Juniperus horizontalis) Virginia Tech
Juniperus horizontalis 'Blue Rug' North Carolina State University
Blue Rug Juniper Paghat's Garden, USA
Pinus pinea,Stone Pine The Florez Nursery blog, NSW
Pinus pinea City of Los Angeles Street Tree Selection Guide
Caribbean Pine (Pinus caribaea var. bahamensis, P. caribaea var. hondurensis, P. caribaea var. caribaea) Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries
Slash Pine (Pinus elliottii var. elliottii, P. elliottii var. densa) Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries
Bookleaf Pine, Chinese arborvitae. Syn Thuja orientalis. They are seen in many older gardens around Brisbane and are easily recognised by the vertical fans of foliage arranged like pages of a book. This is one of the most successful non-native garden conifers in the subtropics. However, they take up a lot of space. Plant where there is enough room for them to develop their natural dome shape, which is their main feature.
Platycladus orientalis World Agroforestry Centre (PDF)
Platycladus orientalis: Arborvitae University of Florida (PDF)
Oriental Arborvitae, Thuja orientalis (also known as Platycladus orientalis) Virginia Cooperative Extension
Platycladus orientalis University of Connecticut
Platycladus orientalis 'Aurea Nana' Missouri Botanical Garden
American arborvitae, Thuja occidentalis Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute, California
Thuja occidentalis White-Cedar. University of Florida (PDF)
Thuja occidentalis Ohio State University
Thuja occidentalis cv. Snow Queen Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust, Sydney
Northern white-cedar (Thuja occidentalis) Dendrology at Virginia
Reintroducing Thuja 'Green Giant' in: Something to Grow On, December 1998. Auburn University, Alabama
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius (Celery-top pine) Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants
Oriental Arborvitae Platycladus orientalis. Online Manual of Subtropical Landscaping Plants, Palm Beach Community College, Florida
Podocarpus spinulosus Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants (no common name)
Getting plum pine to fruit (Podocarpus elatus) Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants
More to come in future updates
Tree's mega genome revealed
Sequencing of the largest genome so far completed - seven times the size of the human genome - has been recently been completed and it belongs to a plant. The Norway spruce's huge genome is due to extensive DNA repetition, which is common in conifers. The Norway spruce genome sequenced (May 2013)Conifer an alternative to whale-scented fragrances
In spite of it's inelegant origins, ambergris is highly valued as a fixative in perfumes. However, the fragrance industry may soon have access to a plant-based alternative, thanks to the efforts of Canadian researchers. They've found a gene in the balsam fir tree (Abies balsamea), which could be used to produce a comparable substance more cheaply more reliably. Source: How to make high-end perfumes without whale barf (April 2012)
Small leaves confer drought tolerance - but why?
Scientists studying the evolutionary advantages of small leaves in arid environments believe it may be due to the greater relative density and length of major veins in the leaf tissue that results. This helps to ensure adequate water flow even if air bubble forms in the veins (embolism) during drought. Source: Being small has its advantages, if you are a leaf (July 2011)
Bunya cone hazard may see some trees removed
Scenic Rim regional coucil will be engaging an arborist to assess the risk of injury of falling cones from bunya pines (which can weigh up to 10 kg) on council land. Options include de-coning high-profile trees or complete removal or trees in other locations. Source: High Risk Bunya Trees Assessed by Council (July 2011)
Heritage Hoop Pine gets extra care
A heritage-listed Araucaria cunninghamii in Rosewood is receiving extra care from Ipswich City council to ensure that it is not further stressed by the drought. Hoop pines were once common it the area. Rosewood's specimen is thought to be about 120 years old. Read more from the Ipswich City Council here: Council works hard to preserve Rosewood hoop pine November 2007