Monkey puzzle Facts

Monkey puzzle Facts
Monkey puzzle is coniferous tree that belongs to the Araucaria family. It grows natively in the Andes in Chile and Argentina. Monkey puzzle can be found in the mixed and evergreen forests, on the well-drained, slightly acidic, volcanic soil, on the altitude from 2.900 to 5.900 feet. It exists on the planet at least 200 million years. Unfortunately, population size of monkey puzzle was drastically reduced in the previous century due to over-exploitation of this plant, habitat destruction and frequent forest fire. Monkey puzzle is currently listed as endangered.
Interesting Monkey puzzle Facts:
Monkey puzzle can reach 100 to 130 feet in height. It has single erect trunk and unusual crown made of horizontal branches that grow from the trunk in whorls of 3 to 8.
Crown of young monkey puzzle tree is shaped like a Christmas tree (pyramidal shape). It changes shape into umbrella-like as it grows.
Monkey puzzle has smooth, brown-grey bark that can be 3 inches thick.
Monkey puzzle is an evergreen tree. Its branches are covered with thick, triangular, scale-like leaves all year round. Lifespan of an individual leaf is 10 to 15 years.
Monkey puzzle is dioecious plant, which means that each tree produces either male or female cones. Male cones are oblong and much smaller compared with female cones that are large and globular in shape.
Wind plays crucial role in the pollination of monkey puzzle.
Female cones reach maturity 18 months after pollination. Each cone contains around 200 seeds that are orange-brown colored and shaped like pine nuts. Mature cones disintegrate from March to April to release seed.
Seeds of monkey puzzle are favorite type of food of many birds and rodents. Seeds hidden in the underground burrows and undigested seeds (eliminated via feces) remain dormant until the next spring.
Monkey puzzle grows slowly and starts to produce cones at the age of 30 to 40 years.
Seeds of monkey puzzle are rich in proteins and they represent important source of food for the people of Chile and Argentina.
Name "monkey puzzle" refers to the unusual morphology of trunk, branches and leaves that would confuse (puzzle) even a monkey if he decides to climb on top of the tree (even though there are no monkeys in Chile).
Like many other plant species, monkey puzzle depends on the fire to "make a room" for the slow-growing plants in the forest. Too much fire on the other hand can be devastating for the survival of the monkey puzzle in the wild.
Wood of monkey puzzle had been used for the construction purposes and manufacture of railway sleepers, ladders, piano interiors and furniture.
Monkey puzzle is the national tree of Chile.
Monkey puzzle is long-lived plant that can survive up to 1000 years in the wild under the optimal conditions.

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