The story goes that the Monkey Puzzle tree got its peculiar name when someone in England looked at it and exclaimed "a monkey would be puzzled at how to climb that tree!". One look at the sharp, pointy leaves of this tree is enough to make one understand the comment and in case you are wondering there are no monkeys in this trees native range which just happens to be the South American country of Chile.
The Monkey puzzle tree (the scientific name is Araucaria araucana) is a tree that is sometimes referred to as a "living fossil" for being a remnant species that is found in the fossil record and has very few surviving relatives. There are some other species that still survive in the Araucaria genus among which are the Norfolk Island Pine, the Cook Pine and the Bunya Pine.
I came across an interesting piece of Araucaria natural history recently while visiting a rock shop at the Vantage Washington Ginkgo Petrified Forrest. What you see in the image below are fossilized Araucaria cones that have been carefully cut in half. If you look closely you can even see the cross-section of the seeds.
I took these pictures of a Monkey puzzle tree in Portland Oregon and in the image below you can see how one of them has spontaneously reproduced on its own.
I´ve also posted about the Araucaria araucana in "Exploring the World´s Tree Species2.
Lodgepole pines after a forest fire - A few weeks ago I visited the site of the 1988 Red Bench Fire on the western edge of Glacier National Park. In an area about 15 miles north of Polebridge I...
8 months ago