Monkey Puzzle Trees
Also known as the Chilean Pine, the Monkey Puzzle Tree is the only frost hardy member of an important Southern Hemisphere family. The tree was introduced into the British Isles in 1795 by Archibald Menzies who was offered the seeds of the tree whilst at dinner with the Governor of Chile. The trees were popular during the Victorian period and were planted widely in many gardens and parks.
The monkey-puzzle tree has a regular dome-shaped crown of downwards-pointing branches set with sharply pointed leaves. Its name derives from the belief that monkeys have difficulty climbing it. It is the nearest living example of the trees from the Carboniferous period, about 300 million years ago.
The monkey puzzle Araucaria araucana is widely cultivated as a hardy ornamental tree in the northern hemisphere. In the wild, open, scattered forests of the monkey puzzle tree are characteristic of the foothills of the Andes in Argentina and Chile. In this region snow lies late into the spring.
Araucaria araucana is a coniferous evergreen tree, native to Chile; its branches, growing in circular arrangements (whorls) around the trunk and larger branches, are covered in prickly, leathery leaves. (Araucaria araucana, family Araucariaceae) . The base of the tree is best described as a elephantâ€™s foot as it has rippled bark
The wild Monkey Puzzle trees in Argentina are now on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species list which bans trade in the species. Chilean Monkey Puzzle trees were previously listed.