The Spanish explorer Don Francisco Dendariarena was the first European to discover the Monkey Puzzle tree in the 17th century. Its versatile timber was once highly valued in South America due to its long, straight trunk. Chile declared the vulnerable and threatened Monkey Puzzle tree – araucaria araucana a national monument in 1990. Monkey Puzzle trees have either male or female flowers. Female Monkey Puzzle trees bear fruits (nuts) once they are around 50 years old.
The common name Monkey Puzzle came after a remark by the noted barrister Charles Austin that the hard, prickly leaves and unusual overlapping arrangement “would be a puzzle for a monkey”.
Our tree is a baby with a height of approximately 23 m. These trees can reach up to 50 m. As can be seen by the sperical shaped flower pods, and the delicious Monkey Puzzle nuts that can be collected during Autumn, our tree is a female.
Based on the fact that the tree can be seen on the left of both of the old photographs shown here we estimate our tree to be around 170 years old.
Further information on Monkey Puzzle trees can be obtained at: Monkey Map