13 responses to “Araucaria araucana”

  1. Robert Meyers

    Beautiful Photo and fascinating description of the plant and the story of Menzies saving seeds from his dessert course. I noticed these as mature trees in the gardens of homes in London neighborhoods but don’t recall seeing on my frequent visits to Kew in the 1980 and 90s. I have seen them in the yards of homes around Washington, D.C. and adjacent suburban Maryland and Virginia. I will endeavour to photograph and post as the Kew link in this post only shows distribution in its native range and the UK. I always note their presence because I was informed by someone (apparently erroneously) who knew the name of the tree when I first enquired that it is an aboriginal tree, like the ginkgo bilboa, a grandmother of all trees.

  2. Linda Chafin

    “First introduced into Western cultivation..”. As if Chile and Argentina are not in the Western hemisphere?? ” Western ” and “European” are not synonymous.

    1. Pat Collins

      I am glad someone else cares about that distinction.

  3. Duke Benadom

    Thank you for this post Daniel. Learning something new from each of your posts is unavoidable. I have been interested in flora and fauna for at least seven decades and have wondered about the name “Monkey Puzzle Tree” since my first encounter with one in the 1950s. Thanks for everything!

  4. Susan Gustavson

    Sean Hogan said that seedlings were given away at the Lewis & Clark Exposition in Portland in 1905, and that many of the large Monkey Puzzle trees seen here date from that event.

  5. lynn

    What a fascinating history! Thank you, Daniel.

  6. David W. Eickhoff

    Another great write up on Daniel!
    Stating the obvious: Though it would be much more preferred that plants remain in their native habitats, I am a firm believer that plants in cultivation is a form of preservation. The Monkey Puzzle tree is a nice example.

  7. joana Andrade

    Hi Daniel! loved to know the origin of the name monkey puzzle. The only time I saw an araucaria araucania was in Vancouver and I heard the story about the seeds being saved by … Darwin. I am not sure about the araucaria araucania, but I live in Brazil and in winter we eat a lot of araucaria angustifolia seeds, which are delicious but need to be cooked. Is this one of those cute stories that we have to discard?

  8. Barry

    These are not too common in the part of California in which I live (south of San Francisco), though A. angustifolia and A. heterophylla are fairly common. There are a few specimens at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, which is where I first saw one of these. They are deceptively soft looking from a distance, and you don’t notice just how hard and sharp the leaves are unless you find a fallen branchlet. They could easily be used as a defensive weapon, in my opinion. Fortunately for the tree, it’s grown in an open lawn, so anything falling from it isn’t a problem.

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