by Cristian Echeverría and Gonzalo Medel, University of Valdivia
Araucaria araucana or the monkey puzzle tree, as it is generally known, is an endemic evergreen conifer species which grows in temperate rainforests of south central Chile and adjacent areas in Argentina, under an amazing landscape covered by large areas of temperate rainforests with a high percentage of endemism. Araucaria araucana can reach up to 2 metres in diameter and 50 metres in height, and may live for over 1,000 years. The species grows in mixed forests with deciduous or evergreen species (depending on the location) or in pure stands. Araucaria araucana is one of eighteen species of araucaria found worldwide but for the purposes of this article I will refer to the tree as simply araucaria.