A close-up of the leaves of the Araucaria araucana (Pehuén or Monkey-puzzle) tree.It’s the hardiest species of the conifer genus Araucaria.Native to central Chile and west central Argentina,it’s an evergreen tree growing to 40 m tall and 2 m trunk diameter. Because of the species’ great age it is sometimes described as a living fossil. Araucaria araucana is the national tree of Chile.The sharp leaves are believed to have prevented it’s destruction by dinosaurs, such is the great age of the species. It’s a beautiful ornamental tree in many countries, and especially popular around Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland of BRitish Columbia, Canada. This one is in the garden of a motel in Sidney. It’s often called “Chilean Pine” but it’s not a pine at all. The generic term “Monkey Puzzle Tree” apparently originated from a visitor to a garden in England saying that monkey would have a puzzle climbing it, and the name stuck. Since monkeys would never get past the sharp leaves, it makes no difference anyway.
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Taken with a Fuji S100FS camera, March 8, 2009