Monkey Puzzle Trees establishing in the PNW?

Discussion in 'Araucariaceae' started by dunstergirl, Feb 19, 2014.

  1. dunstergirl

    dunstergirl New Member

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    Question: Is there evidence anywhere in the Pacific Northwest that these trees are reproducing on their own, or are all specimens ones that have been planted? Just curious.
     
  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I've not heard of any instances. Other with more knowledge will contribute, I'm sure.
     
  3. woodschmoe

    woodschmoe Active Member 10 Years

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    Probably the best chance for this would be at Burt Ronning's garden in Holberg, BC (Northern tip of Vancouver Island)....the male and female specimens are noted for routinely producing viable seed. Not sure if they've had them self-sow though: probably the best candidates in the NW to do so, however, if such a thing could/would occur.
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Not listed by Arthur Lee Jacobson in any edition of Wild Plants of Greater Seattle. One problem I can see is the large, recently fallen seeds sit on top of the ground and are devoured by rodents after the cones break up. People also come to some accessible local trees and gather the seeds as well. Other types of trees with large seeds or fruits that otherwise just lay on the ground and are lost most of the time depend in the wild on there being active erosion nearby at the time of dispersal, so that the seeds or fruits are promptly buried. However the Araucaria being a montane conifer perhaps it depends on birds or rodents burying a percentage of the seeds and not coming back later to dig them up and eat them. Yet eastern gray squirrels are present and active in our area, without seedlings having been seen (that I know of).
     
  5. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The main barrier to regeneration is likely the lack of suitable uncultivated, ungrazed ground with full sun and good drainage. The seedlings can't cope with lawnmowers, asphalt, farm ploughs, grazing cattle, or heavy shade, and that cuts out 99.998% of land.

    In Britain, it does regenerate in the occasional sites where conditions are suitable, and I'd expect the same in coastal BC if suitable ground conditions can be found. Pics below in northeastern England at around 55° 38' N 1° 55' W.

    The main dispersal agents will be jays; Eurasian Jay in Britain, while in BC, Steller's Jay and California Scrub Jay would be potential dispersers.
     

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  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Then the barrier in the Seattle area would be summer drought, with "summer wet" portions of coastal BC perhaps being able to keep some seedlings alive. Likewise outer coastal WA to CA might have some potential, although I don't know of any occurrences there either. This region does not have the evenly distributed annual precipitation of Britain and northern Europe, resulting in some significant differences in plant behavior - the equivalent of a normal Seattle summer is a 100 year drought in London.

    If there was even the most extremely limited reproduction in Seattle Arthur would be likely to have picked up on it and reported it - unless, of course it was on a site he had no knowledge of.
     
  7. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    While the differences in summer drought between the Seattle area and NW Europe are true, I'd doubt they are the reason, as the species occurs naturally in areas of Chile which also have a very strong summer drought.

    I'd still suspect the main reason for absence is the distance of seed-producing trees from low-intensity-managed sites suitable for regeneration. I get the impression from threads on this site, that MP is much less often grown in the PNW than it is in Britain. How many MP are grown in groups, and outside of intensively managed urban / suburban areas in the PNW? Even here, this combination is very rare: apart from where I took my pics, I've only heard of one or two other sites in the whole of Britain + Ireland where regeneration occurs.
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Spontaneous seedlings of numerous dry climate origin - or otherwise "willing" species are rather frequent in this area - regardless of what type of land usage dominates the vicinity. Whereas certain horticulturally prevalent trees and shrubs that are terrible in eastern North America, with its wet summers are pretty much never a problem here. A handful of the many woody species growing wild in Greater Seattle and documented by Jacobson (2008 edition):


    Calocedrus decurrens

    Naturalized in dry sunny sites not far from cultivated specimens

    Cedrus atlantica

    Reseeds

    Cedrus deodara

    Ditto

    Chamaecyparis lawsoniana

    Naturalized

    Pinus ponderosa

    Naturalized locally

    Pinus strobus

    Reseeds

    Pinus sylvestris

    Reseeds


    He opens his (Trees of Seattle - Second Edition, 2006) account of the Araucaria with

    Thriving in the mild Pacific Northwest better than anywhere else in North America, our most common South America tree is well known...

    and gives 10 sample locations just inside Seattle proper where large examples can be seen - including one where 2 females and 1 male are growing near one another. As in Britain there was a vogue for this tree many decades ago that resulted in so many being planted that even with the usual losses to development and changes in taste, disaffection with the maturing specimens that are bound to have occurred the species remains a characteristic feature of the local inhabited landscape, with landmark specimens being scattered around generally - both beside old mansions in cities and old farmhouses in the countryside. As elsewhere a percentage of these are hermaphroditic, with filled seeds being produced whether cross-pollination is occurring or not. Yet there is never anything like the pictures of seedlings popping up in British fields etc. shown here.

    That I have seen.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2014
  9. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Of those named by Jacobson, Calocedrus, the two Cedrus and Pinus ponderosa only very rarely regenerate in Britain (barely more than recorded once or twice for each, and in the far southeast), Ch. lawsoniana regenerates frequently, Pinus strobus does occasionally (but is severely hampered by rarity and blister rust), and P. sylvestris is of course native.

    "including one where 2 females and 1 male are growing near one another" - that may not be enough to generate an adequate seed supply; trees like that here, pollination is a very hit-and-miss affair, with a high proportion of empty seeds. At the site my photos are taken, there are well over 100 mature specimens planted in a fairly small area (a forestry experiment; approx 1 square km), which gives a near-certainty for good pollination and abundant seed. At least one of the other sites I know of with regeneration is also a forestry trial plot, and another is a long MP avenue. Is there anything like that in the PNW?
     

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  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Numerous examples that carpet the ground beneath will filled seeds are present.
     
  11. monkey

    monkey Member

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    yes . In Victoria , I have seen seedlings growing under mature female trees .( very young though ,maybe 6 months old max .) Eventually they get mowed down when grass cutting gets started in the spring etc.
     

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