January 5, 2009
Araucaria – n. an evergreen conifer with stiff sharp leaves, eg. the monkey puzzle.
I normally don’t include words on this blog that are names of plants or animals, mostly because they’re not that interesting and unless you’re a botanist or zoologist, you’ll never get to use them. But today’s word brought back some memories for me and taught me something new.
As a child, I lived in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada and there I would occasionally see what are called Monkey Puzzle trees (araucaria araucana) and I was utterly fascinated by them. They are not native to Canada but are often used as ornamental trees. My parents explained that they were called Monkey Puzzle trees because a monkey would never be able to climb one because of its sharp leaves. I also just discovered that araucaria araucana is the national tree of Chile. Kinda neat. Hope you think so, too.