The Q&A Archives: Monkey Tail Tree

Question: I saw the most interesting tree while in Long Beach WA. The locals call it a Monkey Tail Tree, but I can't find any thing about the tree under that name. It is an evergreen with single long limbs that have wide spikes not needles. It almost looks like a pinapple top. I'd love to learn more about it. Thanks!

Answer: The tree you describe is also known as Monkey Puzzle Tree. The botanical name is Araucaria araucana and the tree is native to Chile. It is slow growing but eventually reaches 70-90' tall and about 30' wide. It produces large, spiny, 10-15 pound cones so it's not a tree to sit under! Monkey Puzzle Tree is a cousin of the Norfolk Island Pine (an indoor tree in the Pacific Northwest) and has a similar branching habit. Monkey Puzzle grows without trouble in western Washington but may not tolerate the winter weather in your eastern Washington garden. Hope this answers all your questions!

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