Monkey Puzzle TreeAraucaria araucana


Origin Chile, Argentina
Type Coniferous tree
Soil Slightly acidic

Watering Frequency None after first year

Suitable for Bonsai


Min. Temperature

-20 °C

H6 Hardy

The Monkey Puzzle Tree is a species of conifer that is native to Chile and Argentina. It is very long-lived and individuals can reach ages of 1,000 years plus.

It is classed as an endangered species in the wild, being threatened by logging (which is now banned), wildfires, and overgrazing. It is a temperate species.

It can grow to 30–40 metres in height (100–130 feet) and 1–1.5 metres (3–5 feet) in diameter. This is definitely a tree that needs a large garden to grow in.

0It produces pine cones that are either cucumber shaped (male cones) or spherical (female cones). Most trees are either male or female; very rarely, one will have cones of both genders.

The leaves are long and spiny, similar to a Christmas tree only triangular, about 3–4 cm long (1–2 inches). The tree is evergreen.

A young Monkey Puzzle Tree looks conical, like a fir tree, but as it grows it loses its lower leaves to reveal a broad, straight trunk with a smooth texture, crowned by an umbrella like canopy of leaves. Until logging was banned, the wood was highly prized.

The Monkey Puzzle Tree is a highly unusual addition to any garden big enough to hold it, and is sure to be a talking point in your neighbourhood.

Fun Facts

  • The tree got its name from a chance remark by Charles Austin, a 19th century English lawyer, who said that "It would puzzle a monkey to climb that."
  • The Monkey Puzzle Tree first evolved 200 million years ago, and it is regarded as a "Living Fossil"

Growing Information

  • A large garden or growing space is recommended
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