Garden Photo of the Day

Monkey puzzle!

Click here to enlarge this photo.
Photo/Illustration: Colleen Fitzpatrick

Monkey puzzle TREE, that is. This is one fascinating tree. The monkey puzzle (Araucaria araucana, USDA Hardiness Zones 7-11) is native to Chile and Argentina (the Andes, more specifically), and can grow up to 80 feet tall and 30 feet wide. It’s coniferous, and its cones can grow up to 6 inches long. We’ve heard stories of them being quite dangerous when they fall from the tree. The tree itself is a potential hazard if planted too near a heavily traveled area, since the  scale-like “leaves” are quite sharp. No matter the danger, the tree is fascinating, though it’s not for small gardens. We spotted this specimen while touring gardens in the northwestern U.S.

The wikipedia page on this plant is fascinating–check it out here! Do you grow this tree? If so, tell us about it in the comments below.

Welcome to the Fine Gardening GARDEN PHOTO OF THE DAY blog! Every weekday we post a new photo of a great garden, a spectacular plant, a stunning plant combination, or any number of other subjects. Think of it as your morning jolt of green.

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  1. MzSweetpea 02/22/2011

    This is the first time I've ever seen this tree since I was a child! There was a huge monkey tree in the front yard of my Dad's Mortuary....yes you read correctly....the birds loved to be in it....and on Saturday my sister and I picked up the fallen cones with gloves before funerals....very prickly but stately tree! This was in Petaluma, California, about 45 minutes north of the Golden Gate bridge.
    Thanks for highlighting....Laura

  2. stanhorst 02/22/2011

    That is an amazing tree!

  3. PeonyFan 02/22/2011

    Thanks for this beautiful photo, you can really see the sculptural qualities of the branch structure. The first time I saw a specimen of this tree was in a small "pocket park" by the Galeries Lafayette in Paris--far from its native haunts.

  4. sheilaschultz 02/22/2011

    I've loved this tree since I first saw it in CA many years ago. In Argentina, it was spectacular!

  5. grandmachris 03/05/2011

    I'd read of these trees in children's books from other countries when I was a child. We finally saw one. It was in the garden of our hotel on the Isle of Skye!! Like a dream come true.

  6. MillieHope 01/14/2022

    I think that it is a very interesting tree. I didn’t know such trees existed until I read about them. At first, my interest was piqued by the fact that there isn’t just one type of baobab, but several. Plus the fact that this tree has a history behind it and is still used for many things today makes me curious to find out more about this fascinating plant which is native to Africa. Now I want to know does edubirdie work well to write an essay because I am thinking to get an essay written about this fascinating tree to tell people about its beauty through that essay.

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