Tree Tuesday

I’ve had the Monkey Puzzle Tree on my list of trees to share with you so I was delighted to receive these photos in our mail this week. It comes from Lofty and it’s a splendid specimen.

An interesting tree that was planted in a local park over 100 years ago, a South American “Monkey Puzzle” tree.

©Lofty, all rights reserved

©Lofty, all rights reserved

©Lofty, all rights reserved

The tree was given the name “Monkey Puzzle” in about 1850 by a British Barrister named Charles Austin who remarked upon seeing the tree in an English garden “It would puzzle a monkey to climb that.” The tree had no common name at the time and so monkey puzzle stuck. The tree is a long-lived conifer and is now cultivated in temperate zones world-wide. Unfortunately, in its home range of South America the tree is on the Endangered list because of logging and fires. – source: Wikipedia

Thanks Lofty. Your timing was spot on.


  1. Ice Swimmer says

    I’ve never realized that the leaves of a big monkey puzzle are broad like that. Young araucarias look more like a strange spruce (a flat mate long time ago had a potted araucaria).

    Sometimes one gets to be a puzzled monkey when encountering the wonders of nature.

    As far as I understand, the wood fibers (tracheid cells in this case) of araucarias are incredibly long, something like 7 mm (Norway spruce has about 3 mm tracheids, Scots pine circa 2,5 -- 3,0 mm and many conifers native to the West coast of North America have 4 -- 5 mm tracheids). The colonialist rapacity is so short-sighted and narrow-minded.

  2. Jazzlet says

    I have some bookshelves made of Arucaria (bought long before I knew of it’s endangered status) that have lasted a good thirty years of being overlaoded with my books.

    The Arucaria is a popular garden tree in the UK, one of my neighbours has one, but their growth habit is somewhat different here. Much more of the branch is leaf covered, so even the large branches look more like the second photo, and they tend to lose their lower branches completely as they age so they have a bare trunk running up to a dome of branches at the top. I’ll try and get some photos to show you.

  3. says

    It certainly gets a lot of water, being on a creek flat. The embankment to the left is of an old railway dam. Our drought, despite the forecasters best attempts to cast a dry spell, has well and truly broken in our little area of toy mountains. A lot of exotic tree species were brought to South Australia in the late 19th century and only a small number ended up flourishing widely. The Monkey Puzzle tree isn’t commonly seen.

  4. lumipuna says

    Ice Swimmer -- the houseplant you saw was likely Araucaria heterophylla, while the “monkey puzzle” is A. araucana.

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