The Monkey Puzzle Tree
My love affair with trees continues. I could have easily built a tour around the trees we saw in Ireland! My favorite is the Monkey Puzzle Tree, pictured above. It’s latin name, Araucaria araucana, is derived from the city of Arauco in Southern Chile, the area it is indigenous to. This conifer (cone-bearing) lives 100 – 200 years on average and some have been alive over 800 years, reaching heights of over 100 feet. Even the individual leaves can live 15 years.
Monkey puzzle trees have been used by the native people of Chile as a food — they have almond shaped seeds — and for ceremonial purposes. They will tolerate most well-drained soils and a cool, mild and humid climate, exactly what this one is getting in the Connemara area of Ireland. This beauty resides on the grounds of Ballynahinch Castle, in the west.