BC coastal: Monkey Puzzle Trees

den_vic(BC Canada Z8b)August 14, 2008

Many new gardeners wonder how they can grow their own "Monkey Puzzle Trees". Seed is required from the female specimens when the globular cones turn brown after 2 years. Araucaria araucana is native to Chile.

Indicator trees in your area:

Garry Oak




Windmill palms

Here is a link that might be useful: Female specimen

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den_vic(BC Canada Z8b)

This is an image of a male specimen in Greater Victoria. It has oblong cones which differentiates it from a female specimen. Only a female can produce the (edible) seeds.

Drought tolerant once mature in the coastal rainshadow. It is also grown in coastal temperate rainforest conditions in USDA zone 8a as a min zone for attaining maturity.

Here is a link that might be useful: Male

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 1:21AM
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Hi Den:

Very nice representitive photos of the female and male Monkey Puzzle trees. The vast majority I have seen in this area are male specimens. They may be like ginko, where the female tree is very messy, almost everybody grows a male ginko.

It is possible they are tougher than zone 8, I have definitely seen some large ones (40 ft plus) in zone 7.


Here is a link that might be useful: Our website

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 3:42PM
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den_vic(BC Canada Z8b)

I've also noticed more male "puzzles" than female specimens. Yes, the females litter the ground with seeds for an extended period of time. One puzzle owner gets a hobby grower to clean the yard from these seeds. I notice that laurel seeds germinate with ease in random locations. I actually keep some seedlings because they are deer resistant. But puzzle seeds seem to require help from gardeners.

I have planted a small BC-grown Puzzle tree that is being compared to a Dinosaur tree (Wollemia nobilis). The Dinosaur tree started growing at a later date but is faster, especially in warm, dry summer weather. I'll hand out cones to elementary school science classes if the tree produces. That might help spread Dinosaur trees in Greater Victoria if they do well. I'm assuming they do well here but time will tell. We need a full La Nina to El Nino cycle to confirm. Well, it did start off with a La Nina spring. This spring was good for me because I could move many plants later and the summer started with more moisture. The little rain we get in summer was timely. So I'm happy. But sensitive rhodos were lost in hot weather.

I hope that you don't loose plants in the dry heat. I used to prep for frost at our latitudes in Ontario because frost was a few weeks away. The first weeks of Sept would bring frost... and important ones by summer's end. Over here in Greater Victoria my concern is how some plants or trees cope with summer drought. I no longer get big thunderstorms with 50 mm in a day. Our rain falls during winter but I can strangely make use of it by growing things like kale. The plan is to adapt the yard for all-season gardening. There's a lot of cemented patio surface to get around so rubber boots are no longer required for winter. Plants & trees are planted in linear rows for ease of summer irrigation. No lawn space because summers demand too much lawn watering. I rather use less resources, time & energy growing laurels, photinia & palm trees. I welcome you to visit the garden when you drive down to Victoria.


Here is a link that might be useful: Male (mature) Monkey Puzzle

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 5:25PM
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Crafty Gardener(ON 5b)

Den, I was fascinated to see the monkey trees while in Victoria visiting family. I found them fascinating to look at. I did see a female tree, didn't know it at the time. Thanks for sharing photos of the trees. Unfortunately I didn't get photos of them as we were driving every time we saw one.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 7:07AM
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