Araucaria

January 5, 2009

Araucaria – n. an evergreen conifer with stiff sharp leaves, eg. the monkey puzzle.

 

Young Monkey Puzzle tree

Young Monkey Puzzle tree

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.

Mature Monkey Puzzle tree

Mature Monkey Puzzle tree

Monkey Puzzle tree leaves

Monkey Puzzle tree leaves

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