If you would like to support this site, please consider Donating.
Useful Temperate Plants

Araucaria araucana

(Molina) K.Koch

Araucariaceae

+ Synonyms

Abies araucana (Molina) Poir.

Araucaria chilensis Mirb.

Araucaria dombeyi Rich.

Araucaria imbricata Pav.

Columbea imbricata (Pav.) Carrière

Columbea quadrifaria Salisb.

Dombeya chilensis Lam.

Pinus araucana Molina

Common Name: Monkey Puzzle Tree

Araucaria araucana
Tree growing in the Parque Nacional Villarica, Chile
Photograph by: scott.zona
Creative Commons License
Araucaria araucana Araucaria araucana Araucaria araucana Araucaria araucana Araucaria araucana Araucaria araucana Araucaria araucana Araucaria araucana

General Information

Araucaria araucana is an evergreen coniferous tree of unique appearance with its branches produced in regular tiers of five to seven and its short, spiny leaves that clasp the stems even in death; it can grow more than 30 metres tall. The tree has a pyramidal crown when young, often cloaked to the ground for many years when grown in the open, becoming more rounded with age. The bole is straight and cylindrical, forest-grown trees can be free of branches for up to 18 - 27metres and 90cm or more in diameter[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
341
Title
South American Timbers: the Properties, Uses and Characteristics of 190 Species.
Publication
 
Author
Bolza. E. & Christensen. F.J.
Publisher
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization
Year
1979
ISBN
0 643 02582 0
Description
A very useful guide.
].
The tree is commonly harvested from the wild for its seed and its wood. The seed forms a staple food for the native people in regions where it grows in Chile, it is also sold in local markets there[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
139
Title
Flora of Chile. (in Spanish)
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Some information about the useful plants of Chile.
]. International trade in the seed and timber is prohibited by CITES regulations. This tree has an excellent potential to become a commercial crop in mild maritime regions of the temperate zone, where it has been shown to produce seed regularly and abundantly[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
80
Title
Hardy Woody Plants from Seed.
Publication
 
Author
McMillan-Browse. P.
Publisher
Grower Books
Year
1985
ISBN
0-901361-21-6
Description
Does not deal with many species but it is very comprehensive on those that it does cover. Not for casual reading.
]. The tree is sometimes grown in plantations in its native range, mainly as a timber crop. It is often grown as an ornamental - unfortunately this is usually as a single, specimen tree and so, since it is dioecious, it cannot produce seed.
About 60% of the Argentine Araucaria forests remain after deforestation, and these forests are under continual threat and degradation from fire, logging and overgrazing. The frequency of fires has increased during the 20th century in order to establish agricultural and livestock activities and this has resulted in severe fragmentation of the forests. Today the most obvious sign of forest degradation is the lack of natural regeneration that, under normal conditions, follows a ‘pulse’ pattern of highly productive seed years followed by less productive ones. Many forests are subject to intensive human use in the form of seed collecting and animal grazing, Araucaria trees are poor at regenerating, and any regeneration that does occur is principally asexual with trees sprouting from roots. There are severe threats to Araucaria araucana in the north of its range in Argentina, due to the establishment of plantations of exotic tree species within these native stands. In Chile the main threat is anthropogenic fires: large areas in several national parks have been destroyed within the last 25 years. The plant is classified as 'Endangered' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
139
Title
Flora of Chile. (in Spanish)
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Some information about the useful plants of Chile.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

S. America - central and southern Chile, southern Argentina

Habitat

Mountain slopes in deep sandy soils in coniferous woodland, usually with Nothofagus[
139
Title
Flora of Chile. (in Spanish)
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Some information about the useful plants of Chile.
]. Mostly on soils of volcanic origin which are often dry and stony; in pure stands or small groups mixed with other species; at elevations from 900 - 1,800metres[
341
Title
South American Timbers: the Properties, Uses and Characteristics of 190 Species.
Publication
 
Author
Bolza. E. & Christensen. F.J.
Publisher
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization
Year
1979
ISBN
0 643 02582 0
Description
A very useful guide.
]

Properties

Conservation StatusEndangered
Edibility Rating *  *  *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height30.00 m
Growth RateSlow
PollinatorsWind
Self-fertileNo
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Araucaria araucana is only hardy in the milder regions of the temperate zone, growing best in areas with moist summers and disliking hot, dry conditions.
Prefers a deep well-drained soil[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Dislikes hot dry soils[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
]. Dislikes atmospheric pollution[
166
Title
The Milder Garden.
Publication
 
Author
Taylor. J.
Publisher
Dent
Year
1990
ISBN
 
Description
A good book on plants that you didn't know could be grown outdoors in Britain.
]. Very tolerant of maritime exposure and salt laden winds[
75
Title
Shelter Trees and Hedges.
Publication
 
Author
Rosewarne experimental horticultural station.
Publisher
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
Year
1984
ISBN
-
Description
A small booklet packed with information on trees and shrubs for hedging and shelterbelts in exposed maritime areas.
,
81
Title
Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Rushforth. K.
Publisher
Christopher Helm
Year
1987
ISBN
0-7470-2801-X
Description
Deals with conifers that can be grown outdoors in Britain. Good notes on cultivation and a few bits about plant uses.
].
The monkey puzzle is a very slow growing but long-lived tree that can take 5 - 10 years before it even gets above grass height and then grows around 35cm a year. Specimens more than 500 years old are frequently found[
185
Title
Conifers in the British Isles.
Publication
 
Author
Mitchell. A. F.
Publisher
HMSO
Year
1975
ISBN
0-11-710012-9
Description
A bit out of date (first published in 1972), but an excellent guide to how well the various species of conifers grow in Britain giving locations of trees.
,
341
Title
South American Timbers: the Properties, Uses and Characteristics of 190 Species.
Publication
 
Author
Bolza. E. & Christensen. F.J.
Publisher
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization
Year
1979
ISBN
0 643 02582 0
Description
A very useful guide.
].
New growth takes place from early to late summer[
185
Title
Conifers in the British Isles.
Publication
 
Author
Mitchell. A. F.
Publisher
HMSO
Year
1975
ISBN
0-11-710012-9
Description
A bit out of date (first published in 1972), but an excellent guide to how well the various species of conifers grow in Britain giving locations of trees.
].
A high yielding tree that has large tasty seeds and is easily harvested. Its main disadvantages are its slow rate of growth and the time it takes before the first crop is produced - this can be up to 40 years from seed though we have often seen plants less than 20 years old produce cones[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
The plant is dioecious so at least one male plant needs to be grown for every 5 - 6 females - unfortunately there is no way of telling the sex of the tree until it flowers.
There are means of vegetative reproduction and it might be possible to produce clones of known sex in the future - these will probably come into bearing at an earlier age.
If you have the space to plant at least 5 trees, and the foresight, this is a tree that will be a very valuable food crop in the future[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. It is said that 18 good-sized trees can provide enough for an adult's sustenance all year round[
2
Title
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Hedrick. U. P.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1972
ISBN
0-486-20459-6
Description
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
].
Female cones take 2 - 3 years to mature, and break up at the end of the year[
185
Title
Conifers in the British Isles.
Publication
 
Author
Mitchell. A. F.
Publisher
HMSO
Year
1975
ISBN
0-11-710012-9
Description
A bit out of date (first published in 1972), but an excellent guide to how well the various species of conifers grow in Britain giving locations of trees.
]. They contain up to 200 large seeds[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
Plants have been seen to self-sow in Cornwall[
80
Title
Hardy Woody Plants from Seed.
Publication
 
Author
McMillan-Browse. P.
Publisher
Grower Books
Year
1985
ISBN
0-901361-21-6
Description
Does not deal with many species but it is very comprehensive on those that it does cover. Not for casual reading.
].
We have records of trees regularly producing good crops of seeds in various sites in Cornwall, Devon and the west coast of Scotland. We also have one report of an excellent crop in 1997 from trees at Alvaston Castle near Derby and of a tree in Bedfordshire producing a heavy crop[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
Trees are notably susceptible to honey fungus[
81
Title
Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Rushforth. K.
Publisher
Christopher Helm
Year
1987
ISBN
0-7470-2801-X
Description
Deals with conifers that can be grown outdoors in Britain. Good notes on cultivation and a few bits about plant uses.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Unlike most conifers, this tree can be coppiced[
81
Title
Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Rushforth. K.
Publisher
Christopher Helm
Year
1987
ISBN
0-7470-2801-X
Description
Deals with conifers that can be grown outdoors in Britain. Good notes on cultivation and a few bits about plant uses.
].

Edible Uses

Seed - raw or cooked. Rich in starch[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. The seed is soft like a cashew nut and has a slight flavour of pine nuts. This is a delicious seed and it makes very pleasant eating. It is a food that can easily be eaten in quantity and can be used as a staple food in the diet[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. Fairly large, the seeds are about the size of an almond and can be 3cm long x 1cm wide. They are harvested in the autumn and, when kept in cool, dry conditions will store for at least 9 months[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Medicinal

A resin obtained from incisions in the trunk is used in the treatment of ulcers and wounds[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
61
Title
A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Usher. G.
Publisher
Constable
Year
1974
ISBN
0094579202
Description
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
,
139
Title
Flora of Chile. (in Spanish)
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Some information about the useful plants of Chile.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

Very tolerant of maritime exposure, trees can be grown as part of a shelterbelt, though they are very slow growing and have an open canopy and so do not give a lot of shelter[
75
Title
Shelter Trees and Hedges.
Publication
 
Author
Rosewarne experimental horticultural station.
Publisher
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
Year
1984
ISBN
-
Description
A small booklet packed with information on trees and shrubs for hedging and shelterbelts in exposed maritime areas.
,
81
Title
Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Rushforth. K.
Publisher
Christopher Helm
Year
1987
ISBN
0-7470-2801-X
Description
Deals with conifers that can be grown outdoors in Britain. Good notes on cultivation and a few bits about plant uses.
].

Other Uses

A resin is obtained from incisions in the trunk. This is used mainly for medicinal purposes[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
61
Title
A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Usher. G.
Publisher
Constable
Year
1974
ISBN
0094579202
Description
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
,
139
Title
Flora of Chile. (in Spanish)
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Some information about the useful plants of Chile.
].

The heartwood is pale yellowish or greyish-yellow, sometimes with slightly darker stripes; it is not clearly demarcated from the sapwood. The texture is fine and uniform; the grain usually straight; growth rings not well-demarcated; there is no appreciable odour or taste , The wood is somewhat difficult to season, dries slowly and rather unevenly. It has good working properties; takes a beautiful polish; presents only a small blunting effect on cutting edges; cuts cleanly in most operations but has a tendency to crumble when worked on end grain; takes nails well; varnishes and paints satisfactorily; glues, peels and slices well. It is used for joinery and carpentry, and is suitable for pulping[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
61
Title
A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Usher. G.
Publisher
Constable
Year
1974
ISBN
0094579202
Description
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
,
139
Title
Flora of Chile. (in Spanish)
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Some information about the useful plants of Chile.
,
341
Title
South American Timbers: the Properties, Uses and Characteristics of 190 Species.
Publication
 
Author
Bolza. E. & Christensen. F.J.
Publisher
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization
Year
1979
ISBN
0 643 02582 0
Description
A very useful guide.
]. The wood is a good substitute for Picea abies[
341
Title
South American Timbers: the Properties, Uses and Characteristics of 190 Species.
Publication
 
Author
Bolza. E. & Christensen. F.J.
Publisher
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization
Year
1979
ISBN
0 643 02582 0
Description
A very useful guide.
].
The wood is moderately good for fuel[
341
Title
South American Timbers: the Properties, Uses and Characteristics of 190 Species.
Publication
 
Author
Bolza. E. & Christensen. F.J.
Publisher
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization
Year
1979
ISBN
0 643 02582 0
Description
A very useful guide.
].

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[
134
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 2.
Publication
 
Author
Rice. G. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1988
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. An interesting article on Ensete ventricosum.
] or it can be stored cool and moist then sown late winter in a greenhouse[
78
Title
Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Sheat. W. G.
Publisher
MacMillan and Co
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
,
80
Title
Hardy Woody Plants from Seed.
Publication
 
Author
McMillan-Browse. P.
Publisher
Grower Books
Year
1985
ISBN
0-901361-21-6
Description
Does not deal with many species but it is very comprehensive on those that it does cover. Not for casual reading.
]. Although the plants are quite cold-tolerant, the root systems of seedling plants can be damaged in spells of very cold weather so give some extra protection at this time if necessary. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 2 months at 15°c[
134
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 2.
Publication
 
Author
Rice. G. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1988
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. An interesting article on Ensete ventricosum.
]. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots. The plants have a rather sparse root system and are best placed in their final positions as soon as possible. Give them some protection for their first winter[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, May to July in a cold frame. Only epicormic side-shoots should be used, normal side-shoots do not develop properly[
81
Title
Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Rushforth. K.
Publisher
Christopher Helm
Year
1987
ISBN
0-7470-2801-X
Description
Deals with conifers that can be grown outdoors in Britain. Good notes on cultivation and a few bits about plant uses.
]. An epicormic shoot is one that develops from a dormant bud on the main trunk of the tree[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2021-01-19. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Araucaria+araucana>

Add a Comment:

If you have any useful information about this plant, please leave a comment. Comments have to be approved before they are shown here.