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  #1  
Old February 24th, 2011, 03:33 PM
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Araucaria araucana

Monkey-puzzle trees are frequently planted in front gardens of houses in the UK and many other countries. This one is no exception but the background to the planting is a little more attractive than usually encountered. Photographs taken February 2010 in western Scotland, I was surprised to see this tree in the garden of the house we were renting for the week. (The shed small branches that can be gathered from underneath the tree make very good kindling for starting a fire, btw.)

Iirc, the house was built at the tail-end of the 1800's I imagine the age of the Monkey-puzzle to be similar, ie over 100 years, but would appreciate any comments from experts who could better estimate the age based on the pictures.

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  #2  
Old February 25th, 2011, 05:11 AM
danc danc is offline
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Re: Araucaria araucana

It's wonderful and it seems a long life still lies ahead of it.
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  #3  
Old February 25th, 2011, 06:43 AM
Michael F Michael F is offline
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Re: Araucaria araucana

Nice specimen; looks to be a male. Pity there's only one, rather than a reproducing group, it's the ideal climate for them.

I'd agree on the age guess.
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Old March 1st, 2012, 12:44 AM
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Re: Araucaria araucana

Here are female cones from last year, from a tree near me in Vancouver, with one cone breaking apart on the tree, and the seeds on the ground.

I read that these cones are unpleasant to have fall on you, but I got the idea looking at this tree that the cones all break apart on the tree. I've never seen one on the ground. Maybe in a different climate.

I might get up the nerve to try eating the seeds. Everything I read indicates that they're tasty. Or maybe after they've been soaking up the rain and snow, it's not such a good idea.

[Edited]I'm a little confused about these seeds. I don't know of any male for at least a couple of miles from here. Aren't these seeds? How did it do that?
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  #5  
Old March 1st, 2012, 08:13 AM
Ron B Ron B is offline
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Re: Araucaria araucana

Some individuals are hermaphrodites.

A group at Causland Park in Anacortes, WA attracts people who are after the seeds when these are on the parking strip.
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Old March 1st, 2012, 09:15 AM
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Re: Araucaria araucana

I collected a handful of seeds this fall. I sampled one raw, at that time. It did not taste bad, but was not really what I would call tasty. Maybe they need to be roasted first? I have a few left in my office. I just opened one. It is now dry and hard as rock, so I guess I will have to wait til next year to try eating them again.
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Old March 1st, 2012, 04:09 PM
Michael F Michael F is offline
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Re: Araucaria araucana

Quote:
Originally Posted by wcutler View Post
Here are female cones from last year, from a tree near me in Vancouver, with one cone breaking apart on the tree, and the seeds on the ground.

I read that these cones are unpleasant to have fall on you, but I got the idea looking at this tree that the cones all break apart on the tree. I've never seen one on the ground. Maybe in a different climate.
They break up on the tree, so you just get a shower of loose seeds, not too bad even with a direct hit. The nasty one is Bunya (Araucaria bidwillii), where the 3-5 kg cones fall intact. They can be lethal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wcutler View Post
[Edited]I'm a little confused about these seeds. I don't know of any male for at least a couple of miles from here. Aren't these seeds? How did it do that?
Most of yours look empty (unpollinated). Viable seeds are plump, solid and heavy; empties are hollow 'squashable', or else flat. The pollen can blow long distances (10 km or more) so you can get some viable seed from trees as isolated as yours, though not many, maybe just one or two per cone instead of dozens where pollination is good with male trees close by.

The large pale seeds are what viable seeds look like:
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Old March 1st, 2012, 05:40 PM
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Re: Araucaria araucana

Thanks, Michael! So these that I picked up a few days ago were pollinated ones, but are too old and the seeds have rotted?
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  #9  
Old March 4th, 2012, 06:58 AM
Michael F Michael F is offline
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Re: Araucaria araucana

Possibly, but it looks more like an 'empty'. One where something triggered the seed case to grow full size, but was never filled by a seed.
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Old May 5th, 2014, 11:09 PM
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Re: Araucaria araucana

I picked up two seeds at QE Park last week. I nibbled one raw and then toasted it for a few minutes, maybe not long enough. The taste reminds me of something, but I'm not sure what. Would I have ever tasted acorns? It's not terrible, but doesn't make me care if I eat the other one or not. Still, I was pretty excited to find them.
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  #11  
Old May 6th, 2014, 07:53 AM
Michael F Michael F is offline
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Re: Araucaria araucana

Surprising to find them now! The seeds mature in August - September (N Hemisphere), and are usually carried off / consumed by jays, rodents, etc., within a few days of falling.
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Old May 6th, 2014, 10:41 AM
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Re: Araucaria araucana

The trees around here usually still have at least some of the old cones when the new cones are forming or later. I don't remember what month it is by the time there are no old cones remaining on the trees.
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