Araucaria araucana is an evergreen tree which is more commonly known as the Monkey Puzzle Tree. Araucaria is Native to South America and most commonly found in Chile & Argentina. In the wild, Monkey Puzzle trees can grow to in excess of 30m but this can be controlled when grown in domestic gardens. Spread of the tree can be upto 8m but, again, can be controlled should a smaller size be required.
Monkey Puzzle has a highly-distinctive and attractive structure which is popular with gardeners who want to add something a little different to their garden. The Araucaria araucana is fully hardy and can cope with extreme temperatures of beyond -20 degrees. The monkey puzzle tree requires well drained soil and grows best in partial/full sun with shelter from drying winds.
The stem which gives the Monkey Puzzle its name grows with distinctive spikes which emanate from the trunk. The green, glossy leaves overlap to completely cover each branch. This gives the branches a 'scaly' look which is often described as looking reptile-like. In summer the Araucaria araucana will flower with brown-orange protrusions.
The Monkey Puzzle tree was given its common name by a casual observer who expected that monkeys would have a problem climbing it because of the spikey branches. Other names for the Araucaria araucana include Monkey Tail tree or Chilean Pine.