Araucaria araucana is also known as Monkey Puzzle Tree. It is an evergreen tree native to Chile (National tree of Chile) and Argentina. It belongs to the Araucariaceae family of plants. It is the hardiest conifer in the family. It is also known as Chilean Pine or Monkey Puzzle, Monkey Tail Tree, Piñonero, Pewen. This tree is considered endangered.
Grow Araucaria araucana in the sun or partial shade and sheltered from strong winds. Plant it in moderately fertile, moist soil which is also well-drained. This tree has sharp, triangular leaves, which are thick. They are long-lived as they might live for 24 or more years. When it is mature it will produce cones on upper branches of the tree. Araucaria araucana can grow as high as 40m or 130ft. Since it is a tall tree it was used for its trunk but since it has become endangered it is no longer used in that manner.
Monkey Puzzle Tree is dioecious so it has a male and female version of the tree and cones are smaller on male trees and larger on the female species. Monkey Puzzle Tree cones take a year and a half to mature and hold over 200 seeds. They disintegrate at tat point and spread the seed. Its seeds are similar to pine nuts and are edible.
Propagate Araucaria araucana from seed or cuttings in the summer. The cuttings should be from the vertical shoot tips as horizontal branches will not form an upright tree.
Culturally this tree is sacred to some of the Native American tribes such as Mapuche. Once established, Monkey Puzzle Tree can live over 1000 years therefore it is also called a Living Fossil.
No pruning necessary in fact do not prune established trees as only the young ones adapt to pruning. Watch out for Honey Fungus otherwise, it is pest-free.