Monkey Puzzle Nut – Araucaria araucana

Monkey Puzzle Nut, Araucaria araucana is another unfamiliar nut tree. It is a native of Chile and Argentina highland regions, found generally above 1000 meters in parts with heavy snowfall in wintertime. Monkey Puzzle Nut is hardy to -23ºC; the hardiest species in the conifer genus Araucaria.

Araucaria araucana leaves are dense, strong and scale-like, trilateral, 3-4 cm long, 1-3 cm wide at the base, and with sharply edged and tipped. They hang on for 10-15 years or more, so cover up virtually the whole tree except for the most aged branches.

This evergreen nut tree is not self-fertile so you will require two trees to produce nuts. The 5cm long nuts are produced on a large cone with as many as 250 nuts per cone. The nuts could be roasted and consumed same as chestnuts, or dried out crushed and ground for usage as nut flour.

Commonly the male and female cones are on independent trees, although infrequently individual trees bear cones of both sexes. The nuts are edible, look-alike to large pine nuts and are extensively harvested in the mountain slopes of its native Chilean and Argentinean south-central Andes.

Monkey Puzzle Nut

Monkey Puzzle Nuts are a first-class source of protein, as well have a high fat content and with most of the fat polyunsaturated. They are in addition to low glycemic so they break down slowly and don’t drive a surge in insulin levels. Since the cones drop, harvesting is easy.

Monkey Puzzle Nut Propagation Methods

Propagation of the Monkey Puzzle Nut is by seeds (nuts). A group of six female trees with one male for pollination may yield a few thousand nuts annually.

Monkey Puzzle Nut favors well drained, volcanic soil, slightly acidic but will tolerate nearly any soil type provided drainage is good. When established, it could potentially live as long as 1,000 years. Though yields at maturity could be huge the tree doesn’t yield nuts until it is approximately 30-40 years old, which deters investing in planting orchards.

Monkey Puzzle Nut creates a popular garden specimen tree, currently an oddity, planted for its unaccustomed effect of the thick, ‘reptilian’ branches with a real symmetrical visual aspect.

monkey puzzle nut, Araucaria araucana

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