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Araucaria araucana (photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens)
Araucaria araucana (photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens)

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Zones 4-9, 14-28, H1, H2
Full Sun
Regular Water

Araucaria araucana

Monkey Puzzle Tree
Evergreen, Trees


These strange looking conifers provide a distinctive silhouette with their evenly spread tiers of stiff branches. Most have stiff, closely overlapping, dark to bright-green leaves. All do well in a wide range of soils with adequate drainage.

Make impressive skyline trees and are seen in that role in many parks and old estates, especially in California, but they become so towering that they really do need the space they have in a park or large, open property. Not trees to sit under: with age they bear large, spiny, 10–15-lb. cones that fall with a crash. They thrive in containers for several years, even in desert areas.

Araucaria araucana

Native to Chile. An arboreal oddity whose heavy, spreading branches and ropelike branchlets are closely set with sharp-pointed leaves. Slow growing in youth, it eventually reaches 70–90 ft. tall and 30 ft. wide. This is the hardiest of the araucarias.

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