Monkey-puzzle

Araucaria araucana

  1. Wildlife
  2. Trees and shrubs
  3. Monkey-puzzle

About

The Monkey-puzzle is a large, evergreen tree, which has been widely planted in parks and gardens. It was introduced into the UK from Chile in the 18th century by a botanist who managed to grow the seedlings on his ship and then donated them to Kew. By Victorian times, it had become a popular tree to plant in gardens and even in plantations.

How to identify

Monkey-puzzle trees are unmistakeable: they are pyramidal in shape, with horizontal branches jutting out from the trunk in tiers; the branches are covered in stiff, dark green spines which are actually leaves.

Where to find it

Widespread.

Habitats

When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Monkey-puzzle trees rarely self-seed in this country, so they are not a threat to native species. However, the planting of them in gardens and parks may well prove to be valuable in the future as their natural forest habitat is increasingly threatened by commercial plantations and felling and burning for agriculture. The Monkey-puzzle is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of endangered species.

Species information

Common name
Monkey-puzzle
Latin name
Araucaria araucana
Category
Trees and shrubs
Statistics
Height: up to 50m
Conservation status
Introduced species.