Some months ago, my friend Nena and I paid the visit to one of her friends (who's name is also Vesna, like mine, and who's garden will be presented in one of my future posts). On our way back home, to my great surprise, I noticed this Monkey Puzzle Tree (Araucaria araucana) in front of one house. I saw it once before, in Kew gardens, but never in Croatia, especially not grown this way - as an ornamental tree in a private garden.
It is an evergreen tree, native to Chile and Argentina. It grows above 1000 m, in regions with heavy snowfall. It may be 40 m tall. This is actually a coniferous tree, but the foliage is not needle-like as in most of conifers. It is broad, triangular, with sharp edges and a pointed tip.
Young trees have this typical conical shape, whereas the older trees loose lover branches and form an umbrella.
left side images credit: conifers
Araucaria araucana is a national tree of Chile.
This species is fully protected under Appendix I of CITES. Despite of harvest prohibition in Chile, this tree is at some risk of extinction.