Herb: Monkey Puzzle Tree


Latin name: Araucaria araucana


Synonyms: Araucaria imbricata, Pinus araucana


Family: Araucariaceae (Araucaria Family)



Medicinal use of Monkey Puzzle Tree:

A resin obtained from incisions in the trunk is used in the treatment of ulcers and wounds.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Evergreen
Tree

Height:
30 m
(98 feet)

Flovering:
June
to July

Habitat of the herb:

Mountain slopes in deep sandy soils in coniferous woodland, usually with Nothofagus spp.

Edible parts of Monkey Puzzle Tree:

Seed - raw or cooked. Rich in starch. 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. 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.

Other uses of the herb:

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. A resin is obtained from incisions in the trunk. This is used mainly for medicinal purposes. Wood - pale yellowish, good quality, takes a beautiful polish. Used for joinery and carpentry.

Propagation of Monkey Puzzle Tree:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame or it can be stored cool and moist then sown February in a greenhouse. 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 15C. 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. 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. An epicormic shoot is one that develops from a dormant bud on the main trunk of the tree.

Cultivation of the herb:

Mountain slopes in deep sandy soils in coniferous woodland, usually with Nothofagus spp.

Known hazards of Araucaria araucana:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.