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Araucaria araucana

Araucaria Araucana

The big evergreen tree on the corner of the lawn opposite the herbaceous borders

The monkey puzzle tree is an evergreen conifer native to Argentina and Chile. It was  introduced to England in 1795 by Archibald Menzies; a plant collector and naval surgeon on Captain George Vancouver's circumnavigation of the globe.

The common name Monkey Puzzle refers  to the fact that the task of climbing the tree, with its with spiny leaves, would puzzle even a monkey.

The scientific name Araucaria araucana comes Spanish name Araucanos, given to the Mapuche peoples from Chile who consider monkey puzzles to be sacred.

The edible seeds, are still harvested today, made into a flour, and used to make a fermented beverage (muday).

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