Tarn and pencil pines, Ronny Creek, Cradle Mountain National Park
Tarn and pencil pines, Ronny Creek, Cradle Mountain National Park (photograph: Joe Shemesh)

Pencil pine

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​A close relative of the King Billy pine, the pencil pine is largely restricted to sub-alpine areas above 800 metres. Like the King Billy pine, the pencil pine is a Gondwanan species and is often located around tarns, streams and lakes because of its intolerance to fire. Pencil pines can reach ages in excess of 1200 years, but have little chance of recovery after a ​fire due to their very poor ability to survive fire, regrow from seedlings or suckers post fire, or disperse seeds more than a few meters from the parent tree. The trees are conical in shape with a markedly tapering trunk. 

Pencil pines are known to clonally reproduce through suckering, with some whole stands likely to be genetically identical. This means that such stands are genetic clones which are likely to be thousands of years old.

​Common name: Pencil pine

Scientific nameAthrotaxis cupressoides

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