Araucaria araucana is also known as Monkey Puzzle Tree. It is an evergreen tree native to Chile (The 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.
Araucaria araucana can grow as high as 40m or 130ft. Since it is a tall tree, they use it for its trunk. Since it has become endangered, it is no longer used for that purpose.
How to grow Araucaria araucana:
Grow Araucaria araucana in the sun or partial shade. Shelter it from strong winds. Plant it in moderately fertile, moist soil that is also well-drained. This tree has sharp, triangular leaves, which are thick. It is long-lived. It could live for 24 years or more. When it is mature, it will produce cones on the upper branches of the tree.
Monkey Puzzle Tree is dioecious. It has a male and female version of the tree. Cones are smaller on male trees. They are larger on the female trees. Monkey Puzzle Tree cones take a year and a half to mature. They hold over 200 seeds. They disintegrate at that 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.