Propagating Monkey Trees - Araucaria araucana

Discussion in 'Araucariaceae' started by SecheltSara, May 27, 2020.

  1. SecheltSara

    SecheltSara New Member

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    Well there have been so many threads and posts about monkey trees on here, I am just hoping there is still some expertise around on the subject.

    I received a couple of monkey tree seeds and a cutting by an enthusiastic homeowner who saw my partner admiring her tree - he was taking a picture of it for me. Just the day before I had asked him to keep an eye out for female monkey trees, and he ended up driving right by this one during his workday! She has propagated from seed many times before and she said the seeds were good however I've read that they don't normally drop seed this early. I'm in Zone 9 and we had some unseasonable heat this spring so I will take a chance and keep them moist for 2 months to see what happens.

    Now, she seemed to think that I can propagate from a cutting. I have read instructions on how to do so online but they were brief to say the least, and I have also read that cuttings will never grow straight up into a tree unless they are vertical. The only vertical cutting being the top of the tree this seems practically impossible. Well, I'm probably going to try anyway and see what happens, so I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions. I have propagated many plants from cuttings however nothing woody and none with such a thick protective outer layer. I can't help but wonder if peeling off the leaves from the very bottom where it touches soil would help roots to form. Any input would be appreciated.

    Interestingly, there were just a few male cones on the otherwise female tree. She said it is the first time in 3 years it has produced male cones. I understand the monoecious monkey trees are rare specimens and was surprised to learn this can change over time as well. I know there are a number of sea creatures which can change sex based on reproductive necessity or relative maturity, so I'm wondering if there are certain conditions under which the trees do this dynamically (ie perhaps any female tree can produce male cones if pollination is not occurring). There must be something that brings this change about?

    For the monkey tree historians around, this homeowner had an interesting story. Some decades ago her and her husband set out on a quest for a secret Vancouver Island monkey tree grove. Apparently they had heard from someone who planted a number of monkey trees on a remote mountain side North island in the 70's, and they were looking for it. They never did find it but I was wondering if anyone else had heard of this hidden monkey tree forest.
     
  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    For the latter point about history, they are probably referring to Ronning's Garden: Vancouver Island's northern-most show garden, Ronning's Garden

    I visited there several years ago. I grew up in Manitoba and am used to mosquitoes, but that had to be in the top-ten of non-Manitoba spots I've ever experienced them.

    As for trees producing both male and female cones, it is uncommon but not rare. We saw at least a couple in the monkey puzzle forests in Chile a couple years ago. For plants in general, maturity is often a factor (typically transitioning to producing fruit later in life).
     
  3. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    @SecheltSara , there are a couple of postings here. This one has a link to a previous posting:
    Monoecious monkey puzzle
     
  4. SecheltSara

    SecheltSara New Member

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    Well I have an update on my propagation efforts thought I would share since I can't find much follow up about growing from seed, outside of controlled nursery type settings in the UK. I had 2 seeds which were picked up from the ground under a tree at the end of May, which I soaked in water in bowls on top of my fridge (so slightly warm) for 1-2 days. I had read that they should be planted once they float after a day or so. Well one of them floated to the surface after a day and I sowed it, one floated enough to be suspended perfectly in the center of the water and that hadn't changed after another day. I put them both in one gallon pots of mineral soil with about 25% 4 year old composted manure mixed in so it would be pretty well drained but rich. The top of the seed flush with the soil surface. I put them outside against my house facing west. For the first week they were watered 1-2 times/day depending on the heat basically keeping them constantly moist, then gradually less and less often now watering 2 times/week. After 6 weeks, one of the seeds seemed to be sticking halfway out of the soil and I put my hand into the soil to feel under the seed and could feel a taproot about the width of my index finger going to the bottom of the pot (about 8").

    As for the cutting, it's too soon to tell if it's going to grow straight but there is about 1" of new growth at the top after 2 months of being watered. It's also in a 1 gallon pot in the same soil. I pulled the leaves off of the bottom 2" of the cutting, dipped it in liquid rooting hormone and put it in the same soil and gave it the same watering.

    I have also seen another 2 trees locally with both male and female cones - locally being on the lower Sunshine Coast.

    Sara
     
    wcutler likes this.

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