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   xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Oct 10 11:09 PM

October 11th, 2015: Monkey Puzzle Tree

This is a picture Walking Man could have taken, as this tree is growing next to the Smithsonian castle. But did he? Noooooooooooooooo.

-------------------------

Quote:
This monkey puzzle tree (Araucaria araucaria) is one of the stranger trees growing in the Smithsonian’s Enid A. Haupt Garden in Washington, D.C. Its triangular leaves, which cover the entire tree, both branches and trunk, are thick, tough, and scale-like, with sharp edges and tips. Each leaf can last 10 to 15 years.

The tree’s common name reportedly stems from a comment made by an Englishman in the mid-1800s. He noted that it would be a puzzle for a monkey attempting to climb such a well-armed tree. Even though there are no monkeys in the tree’s native habitat on the lower Andean slopes of Chile and Argentina, the remark caught the public’s attention and evolved into the tree’s name.
link

Leaves that live longer than many pets? I wonder how long the tree will live?
Oh, Wiki says...
Quote:
Araucaria araucana (commonly called the monkey puzzle tree, monkey tail tree, Chilean pine, or pehuén) is an evergreen tree growing to 40 m (130 ft) tall with a 2-m (7-ft) trunk diameter. The tree is native to central and southern Chile and western Argentina. Araucaria araucana is the hardiest species in the conifer genus Araucaria. Because of the great age of this species, it is sometimes described as a living fossil. Its conservation status was changed to Endangered by the IUCN in 2013 due to its declining abundance.
~~~~~~~~~~~~
Its piñones, or seeds, are edible, similar to large pine nuts, and are extensively harvested in Chile. The tree has some potential to be a food crop in other areas in the future, thriving in climates with cool oceanic summers, e.g., western Scotland, where other nut crops do not grow well. A group of six female trees with one male for pollination could yield several thousand seeds per year. Since the cones drop, harvesting is easy. The tree, however, does not yield seeds until it is around 30 to 40 years old, which discourages investment in planting orchards (although yields at maturity can be immense); once established, it can live possibly as long as 1,000 years.
I wonder if Euell Gibbons knew about this? Whoa, 1000 years, they live a lot longer than pets, or us.


Sundae  Saturday Oct 10 11:31 PM

I had no idea they were rare; there are four that I can think of just off the top of my head(here in Aylesbury, in Leeds and Otley). Four isn't a huge amount compared to indigenous trees, but compared to how many pandas I've seen in my life, it's not bad.

Probably a late Victorian vogue for planting them, from where I can picture their location/ the surrounds.



xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Oct 10 11:38 PM

I don't think they're rare, just the native forests have been decimated, so although they seem to have been transplanted as ornamentals all over the world, they're endangered at home.



Sundae  Saturday Oct 10 11:43 PM

Got you.



fargon  Sunday Oct 11 07:04 AM

We had one in our front yard when I was a kid.



Snakeadelic  Sunday Oct 11 08:40 AM

I know 2 things about this tree . Wood & cones from either this or a couple of similar species are highly prized by fossil collectors is the first one. I spent most of the first 12 years of my life in Portland, Oregon and I used to see them all the time back in the 1970s is the second one. I don't see nearly as many now when I'm in Portland every July, and the neighbor whose parents have lived in the same suburban house for over 30 years doesn't recognize the name "monkey puzzle". I will totally be sending him a link to this page! For awesome fossil pics, use the search words Araucaria mirabilis



xoxoxoBruce  Sunday Oct 11 11:08 AM

OK, snake, I did that...



The highlighted link says...

Quote:
The ancient araucaria family (Araucariaceae) contains three genera (Araucaria, Agathis, and Wollemia) and forty-one species of cone-bearing trees native to forested regions of the Southern Hemisphere, including South America, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, and New Caledonia. During the Jurassic Period, the family had an extensive distribution in both hemispheres, extending as far north as England, Greenland, and Sweden. In majestic size and beauty, araucariads rival the grander members of the pine family (Pinaceae); both families are conifers (Pinophyta). Fossil evidence indicates that ancient araucaria forests resembling present-day species date back to the age of dinosaurs. Today, araucaria forests are limited to the Southern Hemisphere and are considered a counterpart to the pine and spruce forests of the Northern Hemisphere.
One of the Genera, Araucaria, is the "Monkey Puzzle Tree". I wonder how many of those forty-one species are in that Araucaria Genera?


monster  Sunday Oct 11 06:45 PM

My grandparents has a huge one in their front garden. they told us it was called a monkey puzzle tree because the leaves are very hard and sharp and point up, so it's easy for a monkey to climb up as they flatten down in the direction of movement, but practically impossible for them to get down again because they stick in. Kind of like the road spikes at car rental lots.



Snakeadelic  Monday Oct 12 08:23 AM

http://tinyurl.com/o84dxg8

http://www.ancientmicroworld.com/gal...ilis%20p3.html

https://www.flickr.com/photos/27683743@N03/4538641127

http://worldraider.com/2010/11/23/ar...al-camera-117/ There's another pic of this trunk from a very slightly different angle, but it's a small and old photo. For scale, however, note the person at the right side of the frame. Info on the other image (which includes the distinctive skyline) says this is in fact a fossilized A. mirabilis trunk.



xoxoxoBruce  Monday Oct 12 10:59 AM

The Mirabilis is first cousin to the Araucaria in the OP.
Captain Cook served those seeds for desert when he had the governor of Chile for dinner. The left over seeds were planted in a box on the ship and he arrived back in England with five healthy trees.

Wait... Cook the governor for dinner? Oh, the governor was a guest of Cook... nevermind.



ogwen69  Tuesday Oct 13 05:25 AM

I absolutely adore these trees, always have done, no particular idea why but I have. A house over the street has one which is well established, and I'd like on one day.

There is also one outside the Jaguar enclosure at Chester Zoo, I take a picture of my kids with it whenever we go



Carruthers  Tuesday Oct 13 06:51 AM

Having read Sundae's post, I was prompted to do a couple of searches about these trees in the locality.
I discovered that there is one near here which I pass every time I go to buy milk and I don't think I've ever noticed it, I am ashamed to admit.
Incidentally, it was mentioned in an estate agent's archived ad for the property.



Street View

Had to go back to a 2011 Street View image to get a decent view, but it's still there. Or was at 0845 this morning.



xoxoxoBruce  Tuesday Oct 13 12:10 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ogwen69 View Post
I absolutely adore these trees, always have done, no particular idea why but I have. A house over the street has one which is well established, and I'd like on one day.

There is also one outside the Jaguar enclosure at Chester Zoo, I take a picture of my kids with it whenever we go
It's like seeing an antique car in the mall parking lot, or a goldfish in a pond full of Bream, it stands out. They're growing the road less traveled.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carruthers View Post
Having read Sundae's post, I was prompted to do a couple of searches about these trees in the locality.
I discovered that there is one near here which I pass every time I go to buy milk and I don't think I've ever noticed it, I am ashamed to admit.
Don't be ashamed, be delighted you've found something new and unusual, a new landmark in a landscape you know so well.


glatt  Tuesday Oct 13 12:28 PM

I love how it's a thing in England to have exotic plants. I was amazed, when walking through Ascot, to see rows of Redwoods lining some streets.



Carruthers  Tuesday Oct 13 02:12 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by glatt View Post
I love how it's a thing in England to have exotic plants. I was amazed, when walking through Ascot, to see rows of Redwoods lining some streets.
Many exotic species, both flora and fauna, were brought to the country by wealthy 19th Century landowners.

There's a Redwood at Weston Turville just opposite a former lodge house to Alfred Rothschild's estate at Halton Park:



Street View


Lionel Walter Rothschild (Tring)


BigV  Tuesday Oct 13 03:39 PM

There a many monkey puzzle trees in the area here. They are quite unusual, and stand out from the regular fare of conifers and hardwoods.



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