First found in Chile in the 1780s, it was named Pinus araucana by Molina in 1782. In 1789, de Jussieu had erected a new genus called Araucaria based on the species, and in 1797 Pavón published a new description of the species which he called Araucaria imbricata (an invalid name, as it did not use Molina's older species epithet). Finally in 1873, Koch published the combination Araucaria araucana, validating Molina's name in the genus. The name araucana is derived from the native Araucanians who used the nuts (seeds) of the tree in Chile. The seeds or nuts resembles pine nuts and both humans and humans consume these as part of their diet.

The origin of the popular English language name monkey puzzle derives from its early cultivation in Britain in about 1850, when the species was still very rare in gardens and not widely known. The proud owner of a young specimen at Pencarroow garden near Bodmin in Cornwall was showing it to a group of friends, and one made the remark "It would puzzle a monkey to climb that"; as the species had no existing popular name, first 'monkey puzzler', then 'monkey puzzle' stuck. this tree is the national tree of Chile.

A monkey puzzle can live for thousands of years.The tree grows to about 131 feet tall but has a very slender trunk. The branches are often described as being thick and reptilian and the tree as a whole prefers to grow somewhere with a lot of rain, and cold temperatures aren’t a bother.

Native Habitat

Its native habitat is the lower slopes of the Chilean and Argentinian south-central Andes, typically above 1,000 meters. Juvenile trees exhibit a broadly pyramidal or conical habit which naturally develops into the distinctive umbrella form of mature specimens as the tree ages. It prefers well drained, slightly acidic, volcanic soil butwill tolerate almost any soil type provided it drains well.
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Threats of Endangerment

Because of things such as logging, grazing, and fires, the forests once made up of Monkey Trees are slowly diminishing. The timber is often used for building bridges, roofs, boat structures, furniture, and plenty of other things, but this is mostly due to the fact that it is resistant to fungal decay and also has a lot of mechanical resistance. Many forests have been cut down and used for tree farms, which seems a little ironic- cutting down trees to grow different trees. In essence, it seems that a lot of Central American countries have a hard time taking good care of the forests within the various countries.

Solution to Protecting The Monkey Puzzle Tree

In any case, various plans are in the work to rebuild the Monkey Tree forests. One of which was to pass a law in 1971, which made them protected by law. Also up to 10 million acres of land will be home to new trees and this project should be done in about 12 years.