Araucaria (A.K.A. Monkey puzzle tree) grows naturally in the Andes in Southern Chile and
Argentina (Patagonia). The tribe (Araucaniërs) from the province of Arauco eat the seeds from the
female cones. The Monkey Puzzle Tree is a Prehistoric Tree that has existed for millions of years.
Considered a living fossil these trees once spread from the North American, Rocky Mountains all the
way to the Southern tip of the Andes. The Petrified Forest National Park, in Arizona (USA) are mainly
logs of Araucaria's. Araucaria is a threatened species and is now protected. "Endangered Species of
Wild Plant and Animal Species (CITES)"
Araucaria is a hardy (zone 6) evergreen tree that likes to be in the sun. They will actually grow in any
soil as long as it is well-drained. The Monkey puzzle tree can not tolerate wet roots. Give this tree a
spacious place, because it will grow considerably. You can also plant several trees together for a
nice wall effect, as the tubular branches have enough room for one another. This tree grows slowly,
but when in a good place, every year you will see a new branch. As the trees grows it is possible to
trim the lower branches, but other than that this tree will require no further pruning.
The young trees have branches all over the trunk, these are covered with leathery triangular needles
that largely overlap and are sharp handle with care. As the tree grows it will loose the triangular
needles at the base. The tree is dioecious, there are male and female specimens. The difference
between male and female tree is only visible on the cones. Male cones are often in clusters and are
elongated. Female cones are spherical and can grow as big as a small football and this contains the