Araucaria araucana
Overview
Araucaria araucana is an evergreen
Evergreen
In botany, an evergreen plant is a plant that has leaves in all seasons. This contrasts with deciduous plants, which completely lose their foliage during the winter or dry season.There are many different kinds of evergreen plants, both trees and shrubs...

 tree
Tree
A tree is a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk with clear apical dominance. A minimum height specification at maturity is cited by some authors, varying from 3 m to...

 growing to 40 metres (131.2 ft) tall with a 2 metres (7 ft) trunk diameter. The tree is native to central and southern Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

, western Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 and south Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

. Araucaria araucana is the hardiest species in the conifer
Pinophyta
The conifers, division Pinophyta, also known as division Coniferophyta or Coniferae, are one of 13 or 14 division level taxa within the Kingdom Plantae. Pinophytes are gymnosperms. They are cone-bearing seed plants with vascular tissue; all extant conifers are woody plants, the great majority being...

 genus Araucaria
Araucaria
Araucaria is a genus of evergreen coniferous trees in the family Araucariaceae. There are 19 extant species in the genus, with a highly disjunct distribution in New Caledonia , Norfolk Island, eastern Australia, New Guinea, Argentina, Chile, and southern Brazil.-Description:Araucaria are mainly...

. Because of the species's great age it is sometimes described as a living fossil
Living fossil
Living fossil is an informal term for any living species which appears similar to a species otherwise only known from fossils and which has no close living relatives, or a group of organisms which have long fossil records...

.

Araucaria araucana is the national tree of Chile.
The leaves
Leaf
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....

 are thick, tough and scale-like, triangular, 3–4 cm long, 1–3 cm broad at the base, and with sharp edges and tip.
Encyclopedia
Araucaria araucana is an evergreen
Evergreen
In botany, an evergreen plant is a plant that has leaves in all seasons. This contrasts with deciduous plants, which completely lose their foliage during the winter or dry season.There are many different kinds of evergreen plants, both trees and shrubs...

 tree
Tree
A tree is a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk with clear apical dominance. A minimum height specification at maturity is cited by some authors, varying from 3 m to...

 growing to 40 metres (131.2 ft) tall with a 2 metres (7 ft) trunk diameter. The tree is native to central and southern Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

, western Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 and south Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

. Araucaria araucana is the hardiest species in the conifer
Pinophyta
The conifers, division Pinophyta, also known as division Coniferophyta or Coniferae, are one of 13 or 14 division level taxa within the Kingdom Plantae. Pinophytes are gymnosperms. They are cone-bearing seed plants with vascular tissue; all extant conifers are woody plants, the great majority being...

 genus Araucaria
Araucaria
Araucaria is a genus of evergreen coniferous trees in the family Araucariaceae. There are 19 extant species in the genus, with a highly disjunct distribution in New Caledonia , Norfolk Island, eastern Australia, New Guinea, Argentina, Chile, and southern Brazil.-Description:Araucaria are mainly...

. Because of the species's great age it is sometimes described as a living fossil
Living fossil
Living fossil is an informal term for any living species which appears similar to a species otherwise only known from fossils and which has no close living relatives, or a group of organisms which have long fossil records...

.

Araucaria araucana is the national tree of Chile.

Description

The leaves
Leaf
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....

 are thick, tough and scale-like, triangular, 3–4 cm long, 1–3 cm broad at the base, and with sharp edges and tip. They persist for 10–15 years or more, so cover most of the tree except for the older branches.

It is usually dioecious
Plant sexuality
Plant sexuality covers the wide variety of sexual reproduction systems found across the plant kingdom. This article describes morphological aspects of sexual reproduction of plants....

, with the male and female cones
Conifer cone
A cone is an organ on plants in the division Pinophyta that contains the reproductive structures. The familiar woody cone is the female cone, which produces seeds. The male cones, which produce pollen, are usually herbaceous and much less conspicuous even at full maturity...

 on separate trees, though occasional individuals bear cones of both sexes. The male (pollen) cones are oblong and cucumber-shaped, 4 cm long at first, expanding to 8–12 cm long by 5–6 cm broad at pollen release. The tree is wind pollinated. The female (seed) cones, which mature in autumn about 18 months after pollination, are globose, large, 12–20 cm diameter, and hold about 200 seeds. The cones disintegrate at maturity to release the 3–4 cm long nut
Nut (fruit)
A nut is a hard-shelled fruit of some plants having an indehiscent seed. While a wide variety of dried seeds and fruits are called nuts in English, only a certain number of them are considered by biologists to be true nuts...

-like seeds, which are then dispersed by jay
Jay
The jays are several species of medium-sized, usually colorful and noisy, passerine birds in the crow family Corvidae. The names jay and magpie are somewhat interchangeable, and the evolutionary relationships are rather complex...

s and squirrel
Squirrel
Squirrels belong to a large family of small or medium-sized rodents called the Sciuridae. The family includes tree squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks, marmots , flying squirrels, and prairie dogs. Squirrels are indigenous to the Americas, Eurasia, and Africa and have been introduced to Australia...

s.

Habitat

Its native habitat is the lower slopes of the Chilean and Argentinian south-central Andes
Andes
The Andes is the world's longest continental mountain range. It is a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South America. This range is about long, about to wide , and of an average height of about .Along its length, the Andes is split into several ranges, which are separated...

, typically above 1000 metres (3,280.8 ft), in regions with heavy snowfall in winter but can also be found in the southern region of Brazil. Juvenile trees exhibit a broadly pyramidal or conical habit which naturally develops into the distinctive umbrella form of mature specimens as the tree ages. It prefers well drained, slightly acidic, volcanic soil
Soil
Soil is a natural body consisting of layers of mineral constituents of variable thicknesses, which differ from the parent materials in their morphological, physical, chemical, and mineralogical characteristics...

 but will tolerate almost any soil type provided it drains well.

Cultivation and uses

Araucaria araucana is a popular garden tree, planted for its unusual effect of the thick, 'reptilian' branches with a very symmetrical appearance. It prefers temperate climates with abundant rainfall, tolerating temperatures down to about -20 °C. It is far and away the hardiest member of its genus, and can grow well in western Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 (north to the Faroe Islands
Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands are an island group situated between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, approximately halfway between Scotland and Iceland. The Faroe Islands are a self-governing territory within the Kingdom of Denmark, along with Denmark proper and Greenland...

 and Smøla
Smøla
Smøla is a municipality in Møre og Romsdal county, Norway. It is part of the Nordmøre region. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Hopen, other villages include Dyrnes, Råket, and Veiholmen.-General information:...

 in western Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

), the west coast of North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 (north to the Queen Charlotte Islands
Queen Charlotte Islands
Haida Gwaii , formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands, is an archipelago on the North Coast of British Columbia, Canada. Haida Gwaii consists of two main islands: Graham Island in the north, and Moresby Island in the south, along with approximately 150 smaller islands with a total landmass of...

 in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

) and locally on the east coast as well, and in New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 and southeastern Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

. It is tolerant of coastal salt spray, but does not like exposure to pollution
Pollution
Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into a natural environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms. Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat or light...

.

Its seeds are edible, similar to large pine nut
Pine nut
Pine nuts are the edible seeds of pines . About 20 species of pine produce seeds large enough to be worth harvesting; in other pines the seeds are also edible, but are too small to be of great value as a human food....

s, and are extensively harvested in Chile and Brazil. The tree has some potential to be a food crop in other areas in the future, thriving in climates with cool oceanic summers (e.g. western Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

) where other nut crops do not grow well. A group of six female trees with one male for pollination could yield several thousand seeds per year. Since the cones drop, harvesting is easy. The tree however does not yield seeds until it is around 30–40 years old, which discourages investment in planting orchards (although yields at maturity can be immense); once established, it can live possibly as long as 1,000 years (Gymnosperm Database). Once valued because of its long, straight trunk, its current rarity and vulnerable status mean its wood
Wood
Wood is a hard, fibrous tissue found in many trees. It has been used for hundreds of thousands of years for both fuel and as a construction material. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers embedded in a matrix of lignin which resists compression...

 is now rarely used; it is also sacred to some members of the Mapuche
Mapuche
The Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina. They constitute a wide-ranging ethnicity composed of various groups who shared a common social, religious and economic structure, as well as a common linguistic heritage. Their influence extended...

 Native American
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 tribe. Before the tree became protected by law in 1971, there were lumber-mills in Araucanía Region
Araucanía Region
The IX Araucanía Region is one of Chile's 15 first order administrative divisions and comprises two provinces: Malleco in the north and Cautín in the south....

 which specialized in Araucarias. This species is listed in the CITES Appendix I as an endangered species.

Discovery and naming

First found in Chile in the 1780s, it was named Pinus araucana by Molina
Juan Ignacio Molina
Fr. Juan Ignacio Molina was a Chilean Jesuit priest, naturalist, historian, botanist, ornithologist and geographer...

 in 1782. In 1789, de Jussieu
Antoine Laurent de Jussieu
Antoine Laurent de Jussieu was a French botanist, notable as the first to propose a natural classification of flowering plants; much of his system remains in use today.-Life:...

 had erected a new genus called Araucaria based on the species, and in 1797 Pavón published a new description of the species which he called Araucaria imbricata (an invalid name, as it did not use Molina's older species epithet). Finally in 1873, after several further redescriptions, Koch
Karl Koch (botanist)
Karl Heinrich Emil Koch was a German botanist. He is best known for his botanical explorations in the Caucasus region, including northeast Turkey. Unfortunately, most of his collections have today been lost. He is also known as the first professional horticultural officer in...

 published the combination Araucaria araucana, validating Molina's name in the genus. The name araucana is derived from the native Araucanians
Mapuche
The Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina. They constitute a wide-ranging ethnicity composed of various groups who shared a common social, religious and economic structure, as well as a common linguistic heritage. Their influence extended...

 who used the nuts (seeds) of the tree in Chile. A group of Araucanians living in the Andes, the Pehuenche
Pehuenche
Pehuenches are an indigenous people that are part of the Mapuche peoples and live in the Andes in south central Chile and Argentina. Their name derives from their habit of harvesting of piñones, the seeds of the Araucaria araucana or pehuén...

s, owe their name to their diet based on harvesting of the Araucaria seeds. Pehuen means Araucaria and che people in Mapudungun
Mapudungun
The Mapuche language, Mapudungun is a language isolate spoken in south-central Chile and west central Argentina by the Mapuche people. It is also spelled Mapuzugun and sometimes called Mapudungu or Araucanian...

.

In Britain before 1850, it had been known as "Joseph Bank's Pine" or "Chile Pine", though it is not a true pine
Pine
Pines are trees in the genus Pinus ,in the family Pinaceae. They make up the monotypic subfamily Pinoideae. There are about 115 species of pine, although different authorities accept between 105 and 125 species.-Etymology:...

.

The origin of the popular English name Monkey-puzzle derives from its early cultivation in Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 in about 1850, when the species was still very rare in gardens and not widely known. The proud owner of a young specimen at Pencarrow
Pencarrow
Pencarrow is a country house in north Cornwall, United Kingdom. It is situated three miles east-southeast of Wadebridge and three miles north-northwest of Bodmin...

 garden near Bodmin
Bodmin
Bodmin is a civil parish and major town in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It is situated in the centre of the county southwest of Bodmin Moor.The extent of the civil parish corresponds fairly closely to that of the town so is mostly urban in character...

 in Cornwall
Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

 was showing it to a group of friends, and one made the remark "It would puzzle a monkey to climb that"; as the species had no existing popular name, first 'monkey-puzzler', then 'monkey-puzzle' stuck.

In France
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 it is known as désespoir des singes or 'monkeys' despair'. The species Mapuche
Mapuche
The Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina. They constitute a wide-ranging ethnicity composed of various groups who shared a common social, religious and economic structure, as well as a common linguistic heritage. Their influence extended...

 name Pehuén is now becoming more widely used as an alternative common name in English.

Relatives

The recently found 'Wollemi Pine', Wollemia, though discovered in south-east Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, is possibly its nearest relative or possibly the Norfolk Island Pine. Their common ancestry dates to a time when Australia, the Antarctica and South America where linked by land.

External links

Listed as Vulnerable (VU B1+2c v2.3)
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK