Monkey Puzzle

Common Name: Monkey Puzzle

A pyramidal tree up to 40M in height. The Branches are horizontal in whorls of five. The leaves are hard and scale-like 30-50mm long by 8-25mm wide. The female cones are dark brown when mature, which takes 2-3 years. The seed is bright brown to orange with two small wings at the top. It grows best in moist loamy soil. The only commonly found South American conifer in Ireland.


Origin: This species presently found only in Southern Chile and South-West Argentina. It is seen as a relic species as both it and members of its genus were once much more wide-spread. Its antecedents date from the Jurassic Era, thus its prehistoric appearance is well merited. This 'Dinosaur' conifer is one of an intriguing Southerm hemisphere group.

Its name is a misnomer as no monkeys are founded in its Andean home, where it tolerates both extremes of cold and drought.

The tree with its strange appearance was very popular with the Victorians and is recently enjoying renewed interest.

It was first introduced in 1795 by Archibald Menzies and reintroduced in 1844 by William Lobb.

It was from this source that most of today's tree sprung.


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