These are evergreen perennial herbs with stems growing erect or decumbent and creeping. Stems that grow along the ground may root at the nodes. There is generally a crown of wide leaf blades which in wild species are often variegated with silver and green coloration. The inflorescence bears unisexual flowers in a spadix, with a short zone of female flowers near the base and a wider zone of male flowers nearer the tip.
Araucaria heterophylla (synonym A. excelsa) is a vascular plant in the ancient and now disjointly distributed conifer family Araucariaceae. As its vernacular name Norfolk Island pine implies, the tree is endemic to Norfolk Island, a small island in the Pacific Ocean between New Zealand and New Caledonia, about 1440 km east of Sydney, Australia. The genus Araucaria occurs across the South Pacific, especially concentrated in New Caledonia (about 700 km due north of Norfolk Island) where 13 closely related and similar-appearing species are found.