10.13.2010

Monkey Puzzle Tree

monkey puzzle tree (araucaria araucana)

Isn't this the strangest conifer you've ever seen? This tree is called a Monkey Puzzle (Araucaria araucana) and is a native of south-central Chile. I had never seen one before, but here in Portland, Oregon we have an amazing living history museum for trees and plants called the Hoyt Arboretrum.



monkey puzzle tree (araucaria araucana)

Located only 2 miles from downtown Portland, you can see trees from all over the world in the space of 187 acres. It's a must see destination for for naturalists.



monkey puzzle tree (araucaria araucana)

This is a monkey puzzle branch up close. Their foliage reminded me of an agave plant. Of all the conifers at the Hoyt Arboretum this monkey puzzle tree felt the most ancient. I could see a tree of this sort being part of a dinosaur's landscape.

Have you ever seen one of these monkey puzzle trees before?

7 comments:

  1. The picture on Wiki shows a manicured one... which I like... The one u posted reminds me of a plant called " Mother of a thousand"....

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  2. I've never seen that tree.... How interesting. I like it. Thanks for sharing Beth... :)

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  3. I haven't thought about these trees in years. I first saw them in my early 20's on a study abroad in Wales. They are such strange trees and while we saw a bazillion plants, the only one I truly remember are the monkey puzzle trees. I think next summer when I come to Portland I'll have to visit yours.

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  4. There is a very ancient looking tree over in SE~~it looks like something from the age of the dinosaurs!, I don't remember where it is, but if I find it again, I'll take a picture and post it on Flickr!

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  5. How lovely! I see the patterns and the blue peeking out like pieces of a puzzle. And I love your new header! Enjoy the day, Beth!
    Erin

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  6. Chris, what a neat name for a plant "mother of a thousand"!!!

    LeAnn, how cool you saw one in Wales! I hope you do get a chance to see the trees here in Portland :)

    Elaine, now you've got me intrigued. I'd love to see it!

    Erin, thanks for seeing the other pattern in this picture. I hadn't even looked at in that way! Always wonderful to see through another person's eyes. Thanks for appreciating my new header...I'm in process looking for the right one. Boy, its harder then it looks :)

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  7. Greetings! I had always been told the Monkey Puzzle Trees were native to India and that the Monkeys would climb them which puzzled the natives, hence the name Monkey Puzzle Tree. I see I was wrong on all counts, however it was a good story. We have this tree in Mead Garden in Winter Park, FL which I do share this tree and its unusual qualities, now I have corrected info to share. When I worked at a nursery in Tampa in 1971, one day we heard bowling balls from heaven and our boss came in to our design studio with hard hats and told us it was time to harvest the fruit of the Monkey Puzzle. Sure enough these balls were dropping all around us in the grove of puzzle trees weighing between three to seven pounds. Amazingly none of us got hit by these armed balls as we collected the seed pods in several wheelbarrows. The single seeds look like shark's teeth once the balls are opened. Thank you for the corrected information as we continue with our Enchanted Walkabouts and are always looking for plant stories to share. Be In Joy!

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