Sun exposure:
Full sun, partial shade
East facing, south facing, west facing


Clay / Heavy / Moist / Well Drained / Light / Sandy

Araucaria araucana is a large evergreen tree with a distinctive shape – its often horizontal branches are covered in spirals of sharp, triangular leaves. It is a common sight in large gardens and parks in the UK.

Also known as the monkey puzzle tree or the Chile pine, Araucaria araucana is native to Chile and Argentina and is an endangered species in its native habitat.

The tree dates back 200 million years, which means it was around in the dinosaur era. It was introduced to Europe in the late 18th century and was a favourite with the Victorians. It's thought that it got its common name when a guest saw a tree at a country estate in Cornwall and remarked that it would be a 'puzzler' for a monkey to climb.

Araucaria araucana is usually dioecious, which means that the male and female cones grow on separate trees. The male cones are elongated and oval-shaped while the female cones are round. They are pollinated by wind. The female cones ripen over a few years, eventually turning brown, falling to the ground and releasing large brown seeds. These are attractive to grey squirrels and jays.

The monkey puzzle tree is a slow grower, reaching 6m x 3m after 10 years. However it ultimately it reaches 25m tall and 10m wide, so this is only a tree for a large garden. It can live for over 1,000 years.

Grow in a sheltered spot in full sun or partial shade in fertile, moist but well drained soil. Water well after planting until established. No pruning or additional care is necessary.

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Plant calendar

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Araucaria and wildlife

Araucaria has no particular known value to wildlife in the UK.

Is Araucaria poisonous?

Araucaria has no toxic effects reported.

No reported toxicity to:
Is not known to attract Birds
Is not known to attract Cats
Is not known to attract Dogs
Is not known to attract Horses
Is not known to attract Livestock
Is not known to attract People
Plants that go well with Araucaria araucana