Araucaria araucana

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers) Photo Gallery' started by maf, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. maf

    maf Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    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.

    puzzle5.jpg puzzle1.jpg puzzle2.jpe

    puzzle4.jpe puzzle3.jpg
     
  2. danc

    danc Active Member

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    It's wonderful and it seems a long life still lies ahead of it.
     
  3. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years of Activity

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    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.
     
  4. wcutler

    wcutler Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years of Activity

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    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. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years of Activity

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    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.
     
  6. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Rising Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years of Activity

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    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.
     
  7. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years of Activity

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    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.

    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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  8. wcutler

    wcutler Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years of Activity

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    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. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years of Activity

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    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.
     
  10. wcutler

    wcutler Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years of Activity

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    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. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years of Activity

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    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.
     
  12. wcutler

    wcutler Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years of Activity

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    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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