(Monkey Puzzle Tree)
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Araucaria araucana, commonly called monkey puzzle tree or Chilian pine, is an evergreen conifer that is native to woodland volcanic slopes up to 6,000 feet in elevation in the Andes Mountains in Chile and Argentina. It is the national tree of Chile. It reportedly has the best winter hardiness of any tree native to areas in the world south of the equator. It typically grows to 20-30′ tall in cultivation, but may reach 90-130′ tall in its native habitat. It is noted for its unique shape. Trees are loose-pyramidal and open when young, but develop an umbrella-like crown with loss of lower branches as they age. Horizontal, upward-arching branches appear in whorls around the trunk with rope-like branchlets. Bark is gray-brown and ridged. Dense, leathery, triangular, radially-arranged leaves (to 2″ long) have sharp points. Individual leaves persist for 10 to 15 years. Trees are dioecious (separate male and female trees).