Araucaria araucana, also known as Monkey Puzzle Tree, is one of the most extraordinary trees in the world.
This unique ancient tree can live up to a great age. They are known to be over 1300 years old!
The Monkey Puzzle tree is a slow growing conifer with greyish-brown bark, wrinkled like elephant hide. The branches are filled with flattened and sharp, glossy, dark green leaves. The Araucaria araucana starts out a slow grower, but once established it can grow at the rapid rate of about 40-60cm a year. This is the growth rate after about 5 to 10 years.
Araucaria araucana kept in container will grow considerably less each year.
Eventual height will be about 8-15m.
They prefer an open situation with plenty of space and sunlight. They need well drained soil and must not be waterlogged. They are native to Chile and Argentina and were first brought to Europe in Captain Cooks old ship HMS Discovery in 1795.
The monkey puzzle was given its name by an observer who thought that monkeys wouldn't be able to climb the spiky branches.