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Monkey puzzle tree

Araucaria araucana

Chile pine, Monkey puzzle, Monkey tail tree

This evergreen species is highly recognisable due to its distinctive foliage and growth habit. Thought to be collected from the Governor's dinner table and returned in the pocket of Archibald Menzies who germinated them on his return voyage, this tree species is now at risk in its native habitats in Chile. This plant is described as a living fossil as it remains essentially unchanged from earlier geological times and there are no living relatives. It produces highly distinctive, regularly branching stems which follow the mathematical Fibonacci series in their arrangement, producing dark green, rigid, spiny, pointed scales. Also produces cones that take 2-3 years to ripen.

Planning

Difficulty
Moderate
Flowering time
Summer
Fruiting time
Autumn

Harvesting

Generally not harvested.

Propagation

Cuttings
Take cuttings from vertical branches in midsummer. Cuttings from horizontal branches will not form upright trees.

Geography

Origin
America, South, America

Environment

Light
Full Sun, Partial Sun
Soil moisture
Moist
Soil type
Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil PH preference
Acid, Neutral, Alkaline
Frost hardiness
Hardy

Uses

Notes
Suits any site with well drained soil and shelter from cold drying winds. A low maintenance tree it can be used as a specimen tree and is tolerant of salt so can also be planted in coastal gardens.

Personality

Family
Araucariaceae
Flower colour
Green
Scent
None

Problems

Can suffer from honey fungus.
Honey fungus
Armillaria spp.

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