Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Permaculture Plants: Monkey Puzzle Tree

The prehistoric-looking Monkey Puzzle Tree
 
Common Name: Monkey Puzzle Tree, Chilean Pine
Scientific Name: Araucaria araucana
Family: Araucariaceae
Description:
The Monkey Puzzle Tree is one of those trees that remind me of the long-lasting investment of planting a tree. These funky looking evergreen trees, with leathery leaves that cover the branches, can take 30-40 years before they will give their first harvest of nuts, and they have the potential to live for over 1,000 years! What a gift to our descendants. How many actions in our lives have that much forward thinking involved?

I had read of the Monkey Puzzle Tree for many years, but it wasn’t until about three years ago that I ever saw one in person. It was growing in Washington State at the Meerkerk Rhondodendron Gardens on Whidbey Island. It was a single specimen about thirty years old. Unfortunately, this isolated plant will never produce a nut crop. While I have yet to taste a Monkey Puzzle Tree’s nut, I have tasted the nuts from the very closely related Paraná pine (Araucaria angustifolia) when I was traveling in Brazil. These nuts are massive and tasty. It is common for groups of people to sit around talking for hours slowly eating through a pile of freshly roasted cones and drinking chimarrão, a traditional tea made from dried Yerba Mate leaves (Ilex paraguariensis).

My plan is to get these and my other nut trees in the ground as soon as possible after I acquire my land. I hope to get at least one harvest before I die… just another reason I need to live a long life!
History:
Native to South America (central and southern Chile and western Argentina), the Monkey Puzzle Tree was a native food source and sacred plant to the Mapuche in Chile. The wood was prized for lumber, but due to over harvesting and its slow growth rate, it is now rarely used. This tree has been exported around the world due to its unique appearance and is typically used as a specimen tree in gardens; however, there has been some minimal experimentation of using this a food crop in areas with cool oceanic summers where other crops do not grow well.

Trivia:
  • Trunk diameter can get to 7 feet (2 meters)
  • The Monkey Puzzle Tree is the nation tree of Chile
  • There are male trees and female trees.
  • Male trees bear “male” or “pollen” cones
  • Female trees bear “female” or “seed” cones
  • Female/Seed cones take 18 months to mature and will hold about 200 seeds
  • While it is commonly called a Chilean Pine Tree, it is not technically in the Pine Tree family.
  • The name “Monkey Puzzle” comes from the following story: “The proud owner of a young specimen at Pencarrow garden near Bodmin in Cornwall was showing it to a group of friends, and one made the remark "It would puzzle a monkey to climb that"; as the species had no existing popular name, first 'monkey puzzler', then 'monkey puzzle' stuck.”
  • When young, the tree has a typical conical “pine tree” shape, but as it matures and grows taller, the lower braches drop off. The resulting tree shape resembles a lollipop.
 
The large nuts from the female cones of the Monkey Puzzle Tree

USING THIS PLANT
Primary Uses:
  • Seed/Nut – large, almond-sized (1-1.5 inch/3-4 cm), excellent-tasting nuts are produced in large cones. Raw or cooked.
  • Specimen or landscape tree

Secondary Uses:
  • General insect nectar plant
  • Wildlife seek shelter in this large tree
  • Wildlife food source
  • Maritime plant – tolerant of salt spray
  • Lumber – good quality with wide trunks; however, these trees grow slowly, so they are not an ideal, sustainable lumber crop.
  • Coppice plant – although considering the slow growth rate, this may not be such a good idea unless you have a large planting

Yield: No reliable information available, but a mature tree will produce a lot of seeds.
Harvesting: Autumn. Mature female/seed cones will fall to the ground
Storage: If kept in a cool, dry location, Monkey Puzzle Tree seeds can store for over 6 months and possibly a full year.
 
The very spiny leaves of the Monkey Puzzle Tree.
 
DESIGNING WITH THIS PLANT
USDA Hardiness Zone: 6-8 (some sources are more generous at 7-11)
Chill Requirement: Likely, but no reliable information could be found

Plant Type: Large Tree
Leaf Type: Evergreen
Forest Garden Use: Canopy Layer
Cultivars/Varieties: Single species

Pollination: Monkey Puzzle Trees are Dioecious – have male and female plants. Male and female cone will form on the respective plant. Wind pollinated. Both are needed for fertilization.
Flowering: Summer – yes, I know that pine trees don’t technically have “flowers”, they have strobili, but this will suffice in the common vernacular.

Life Span:
Years to Begin Bearing: 15-40 years (plant it now!)
Years of Useful Life: Reported to live over 1,000 years!
A relatively young Monkey Puzzle Tree
 
A bit older specimen just starting to lose some of its lower branches
 
A mature tree with characteristicly absent lower branches.
  
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THIS PLANT
Size: 100-130 feet (30-40 meters) tall and 50-60 feet (15-18 meters) wide
Roots: Relatively shallow and fibrous, but not a lot of information available
Growth Rate: Slow

GROWING CONDITIONS FOR THIS PLANT
Light: Prefers full sun
Shade: Tolerates light shade
Moisture: Medium
pH: prefers neutral soil (6.1 - 7.0)

Special Considerations for Growing:
  • Grows well in areas with abundant rainfall – an oceanic location with cool summers are ideal. However, it can grow in a variety of environments, just not in a location with a lot of pollution.
  • For optimal nut crops, plant one male plant for every five-six female plants. However, it is not possible to discern male and female plants until flowering. Consider planting more than required and thin after flowering using the excess male plants for lumber.
  • Plant this tree where the spiny leaves will not cause a nuisance.

Propagation:
From seed. Germination takes 30-60 days. Propagation from cuttings is possible, but not easy. Monkey Puzzle Trees have sensitive root systems, so getting the plant in place as soon as possible is a high priority.
 
Maintenance:
Almost none. Pick up occasional branches as they are shed.

Concerns:
None.
 

67 comments:

  1. The strongest and fearless person is the one who knows his/her mistakes and still seek for guidance and forgiveness. Have a pleasant day and keep on smiling. Visit my site for more information.

    triciajoy.com

    www.triciajoy.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. While I can't speak to the comment above mine, I just found out that the monkey puzzle tree has been declared an endangered species. So that might be something to look out for if you are interested in using this in your designs.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I had one in the front yard of a house I rented in Florida. It was easily 100 feet tall, with a very large trunk. The female cones resembled large pineapples, and when they fell from a height and hit the roof, you KNEW it. I do believe a cone could smash a car windshield if you parked beneath that tree. The leaves are dry when they fall, and they burn easily and very quickly.

    A very cool tree.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think I'll plant one and call it the Monkey-Butt Tree lol.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Did you know that you can shorten your long urls with Shortest and get money for every click on your shortened links.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow,,, This is great blog... Thanks for sharing this informative Content here....

    We offfers Tree Trimming in Sacramento, Contact us now for Tree Pruning in Sacramento

    Source: Best Tree Company in Sacramento www.cisnerostreecare.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. If you need your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend to come crawling back to you on their knees (no matter why you broke up) you got to watch this video
    right away...

    (VIDEO) Why your ex will NEVER come back...

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi have a large Monkey puzzel tree that has femail flower on now quite a lot of them , do i wait and collect the seeds , then wha do i do with them,

    ReplyDelete


  9. شركة نقل عفش
    اهم شركات مكافحة حشرات بالخبر كذلك معرض اهم شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام والخبر والجبيل والخبر والاحساء والقطيف كذلك شركة رش حشرات بالدمام ومكافحة الحشرات بالخبر
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بجدة الجوهرة من افضل شركات تنظيف الخزانات بجدة حيث ان تنظيف خزانات بجدة يحتاج الى مهارة فى كيفية غسيل وتنظيف الخزانات الكبيرة والصغيرة بجدة على ايدى متخصصين فى تنظيف الخزانات بجدة
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بجدة
    شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالدمام
    شركة نقل عفش واثاث

    ReplyDelete


  10. شركة نقل عفش بالرياض وجدة والدمام والخبر والجبيل اولقطيف والاحساء والرياض وجدة ومكة المدينة المنورة والخرج والطائف وخميس مشيط وبجدة افضل شركة نقل عفش بجدة نعرضها مجموعة الفا لنقل العفش بمكة والخرج والقصيم والطائف وتبوك وخميس مشيط ونجران وجيزان وبريدة والمدينة المنورة وينبع افضل شركات نقل الاثاث بالجبيل والطائف وخميس مشيط وبريدة وعنيزو وابها ونجران المدينة وينبع تبوك والقصيم الخرج حفر الباطن والظهران
    شركة نقل عفش بجدة
    شركة نقل عفش بالمدينة المنورة
    شركة نقل اثاث بالرياض
    شركة نقل عفش بالدمام

    ReplyDelete
  11. This is very helpful information author clearly describe this topic. i have also some links to share mcafee.com/activate

    www.mcafee.com/activate

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you for sharing this article. It is an amazing post, I am really impressed by your post. It’s really useful www.avg.com/retail
    avg.com/retail

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you for sharing this blog , It is an amazing blog , I am really impressed by your blog, It’s really useful norton.com/setup

    ReplyDelete
  14. Packers and Movers Ahmedabad - We Provide ***Best Service Providers, Safe, Reliable, Affordable, Trusted ###Movers and Packers in Ahmedabad List, Household Shifting, Office Relocation: Choose Top Verified Packers and Movers Ahmedabad Compare ???Shifting Service Chrages, Price Quotation, Rate List Charts and Save Money and Time @ Packers and Movers Ahmedabad

    ReplyDelete
  15. Packers and Movers Bangalore as a Services providing company can make all the difference to your ###Home Relocation experience. Bangalore based Company which offers versatile solutions, Right team that easily reduce the stress associated with a ???Household Shifting, ***Vehicle Transportation. we help things run smoothly and reduce breakages and offer you seamless, Affordable, Reliable Shifting Services, Compare Shifting Charges. @ Packers And Movers Bangalore

    ReplyDelete
  16. your post is awesome and very useful thanks for sharing such post

    Kids Activities in Edmontons
    Pray Parks Edmonton

    ReplyDelete
  17. I like this ! because it's very interesting and unique to read.ThankS ! for sharing this kind of post. keep it up!

    xe88 apk download
    mega888 dl
    kiss918 app download
    918kiss download

    ReplyDelete
  18. The blog post is so nice! providing information related to my subject.Thanks!
    such a nice blog post.Thank you!
    This blog post impressed me a lot.

    Live Online Casino Singapore
    Singapore Online Sport Betting
    Online Casino Singapore

    ReplyDelete
  19. Packers and Movers Bangalore - Reliable and Verified Household Shifting Service Providers Give Reasonable ###Packers and Movers Charges. Cheap and Best Office Relocation Compare Quotation for Assurance for Local and Domestic House Shifting and Get estimates today to save upto 20%, ***Read Customer Reviews - @ Local Packers And Movers Bangalore

    ReplyDelete
  20. Get Packers and Movers Jaipur List of Top Reliable, 100% Affordable, Verified and Secured Service Provider. Get Free ###Packers and Movers Jaipur Price Quotation instantly and Save Cost and Time. Packers and Movers Jaipur ✔✔✔Reviews and Compare Charges for household Shifting, Home/Office Relocation, ***Car Transportation, Pet Relocation, Bike SHifting @ Packers And Movers Jaipur

    ReplyDelete
  21. Packers and Movers Chennai Give Safe and Reliable ***Household Shifting Services in Chennai with Reasonable ###Packers and Movers Price Quotation. We Provide Household Shifting, Office Relocation, ✔✔✔ Local and Domestic Transportation Services, Affordable and Reliable Shifting Service Charges @ Packers And Movers Chennai

    ReplyDelete
  22. I like this ! because it's very interesting and unique to read.ThankS ! for sharing this kind of post. keep it up!
    glass tile manufacturers
    porcelain mosaic
    Custom mosaic tiles
    pool mosaics

    ReplyDelete
  23. This post is unique and interesting, thank you for sharing this awesome information and other side you can join our wonderful games like :

    Sbobet Mobile Malaysia
    Poker Win Game Malaysia
    Malaysia Live 4d Results
    Lion King Game Download

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hey, This blog has a great flow with useful information thanks for sharing. I'm impressed with your blog , and other side you can join our wonderful online casino games like-:

    918kiss2
    Download 918kiss
    918kiss Download Link

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hello all , such a amazing informative post that you share in this article and guys if you can interested the online casino play game for the entertainment so plz you can join us:-

    grand dragon casino

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thank you for providing unique post. You can follow us by these links...

    mega888 apk
    kiss918 apk
    918kiss download

    ReplyDelete
  27. This is one very interesting blog post. I like the way you write and I will bookmark your blog post.

    Trusted Online Casino Malaysia 2021

    ReplyDelete
  28. Thanks for sharing this unique blog. It is relevant to my subject.
    Sbobet Casino Malaysia
    Malaysia 4D lottery

    ReplyDelete
  29. BBQ1688 The Most Perfect Online Entertainment Wedsite

    BBQ1688 the All-New Trusted Site Play live Visit BBQ1688.com now We provide a Sports Betting, Slot Online Casino, Fish Hunter & More. Enjoy our 120% First Deposit Starter Pack. Get 120% welcome bonus up to RM1200 in Sportbook, live casino and slots.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Submersible Pump , LEO GROUP is a national high-tech enterprise engaged in R&D, design, manufacturing, marketing and customer service providing for full range of pumps and pump integration system. LEO Group is the first listed company in Chinese pump industry.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Such a nice content which is posted you. If you interested to play online games then join us here:Malaysia 4d Online Betting

    ReplyDelete
  32. Today in 2022, If you suspect a Snapchat account is fake, you may easily report or block that account. Check your Snap score first, Look at the photo in your profile, Check account followers.

    How to find a fake Snapchat account

    ReplyDelete
  33. Copycat Figma is the ultimate tool for quickly and easily converting your Figma design to html. With Copycat Figma, you can quickly and easily convert your Figma designs into fully functional HTML code with just a few clicks. Copycat Figma makes it easy to create beautiful and responsive webpages, giving you the power to quickly and easily transform your ideas into reality. With Copycat Figma, you can create stunning websites and web applications without any prior coding experience. Make your designs come to life today with Copycat Figma!

    ReplyDelete