Fruit and Nut
Monkey Puzzle Tree (Araucaria araucana)
The Monkey Puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana) is a coniferous tree sometimes known as the Araucarian or Chilean pine, although it is not actually a pine species. It is the hardiest member of the genus Araucaria, in the Araucariaceae family, the other members of which are found widely scattered in Oceania, northern Australia and parts of South America. The Monkey Puzzle is native to the south-central Andes, the main habitat region being situated at latitudes between 37.5 and 39.5ºS. It is found mainly on the Chilean side, typically above 1000m altitudes. The climate is mild temperate and annual rainfall is 1250-1750mm (occasionally 2000mm).
In their native habitat Monkey Puzzle trees can grow up to 48m high and live for over 1200 years. Mature trees produce large cones, each of which contains up to 200 nuts. The nuts are both tasty and nutritious and have been long prized as a food by indigenous peoples. In the wild, trees begin to produce nuts at around 30-40 years. However, there is strong evidence that container-raised trees begin flowering much earlier in life (early flowering in a common phenomena in container-grown trees and is due to root stress). The first flowers have been recorded on some domestic Monkey Puzzle trees at 12-15 years.
Popular as an ornamental tree, the Monkey Puzzle has been planted in many northern hemisphere countries and is found growing well as far north as 63ºN in western Norway. It will tolerate wet maritime climates, salt exposure, and winter temperatures down to -20°C.
The trees are dioecious, meaning the female and male reproductive parts are on different trees. The trees offered here are seed-grown and will have female and male in approximately similar proportions. There is no way of determining the gender of the tree until flowering begins. For reliable nut production, at least six trees should be planted.
Availability: In stock
Grafted trees will be the same gender as the mother tree from which the graftwood was obtained so buyers will be able to select female or male trees. One male tree will pollinate 5-10 female trees. Flowering on grafted trees begins much earlier than on seed-grown trees, probably within 6-8 years. We hope to have grafted trees available by 2018/19.