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Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

The seeds are shed between March and April and germinate the following spring after dispersion (4). Falling to the base of their parent tree they are dispersed by a wide variety of animals such as birds (Enicognathus leptorhynchus), rodents (Phyllotis darwinii) and cattle (4). The seeds of the monkey puzzle constitute an important food source for the indigenous Pehuenche people, who have been collecting these protein-rich seeds for centuries (7). Monkey puzzle trees have a number of adaptations to survive fire, and may need low levels of fire to maintain the population. Volcanic activity and fire caused by lightning are regular features of this landscape and help to maintain the forest composition by periodically removing faster growing species, such as Nothofagus pumilio (2).
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Description

Monkey puzzle trees are highly distinctive, with mature trees possessing a tall, straight trunks and an umbrella of branches at the crown (4). Young monkey puzzles have a 'christmas tree' shape, with branches on the lower parts of the trunk which are later shed (5). The smooth bark is greyish-brown in colour (2) and can be up to eight centimetres thick (4). The horizontal branches emerge from the trunk in whorls of three to eight and the tree is covered in scale-like leaves all year round (4). These trees are mainly dioecious; different trees bear flowers of different sexes. The large cones develop in the upper branches (6) and bright orange-brown seeds are released (2).
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Distribution

Range Description

Native to south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina where it has a relatively limited distribution spanning three degrees of latitude from 37º20' to 40º20'S (Veblen et al. 1995). Its distribution is split between the main area straddling both sides of the Andes and two other disjunct small subpopulations in Cordillera de Nahuelbuta in Chile. The total actual area of occupancy (AOO) in Argentina and Chile is 392.51 km2.

Chile: It occurs from Region VIII (Province Biobío, 37º20’S) south to Region X (Province Valdivia, 40º20’S). In this area it has an actual AOO of 253.71 km2 (Echeverría et al. 2004) with 97% of the population in the Andes. The small subpopulations in the coastal Cordillera de Nahuelbuta in Regions VIII and IX are between 37º40’S and 38º29’S and have an AOO of 74.35 km² (Echeverría et al. 2004). The northern coastal subpopulation (37º44’S and 37º51’S) is predominantly in Parque Nacional Nahuelbuta and the smaller southern subpopulation (38º26’S to 38º29’S) is located at Villa Las Araucarias.

Argentina: It is restricted to the Province of Neuquén where it occurs between Lake Aluminé and Lago Lolog; it occurs continuously between 38º40'to 39º20'S, but disjunct stands can be found as far north as 37º50'S (Rechene 2000). It has an actual AOO of 138.80 km2 (Anonymous 2004).


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Range

Endemic to Chile and Argentina in South America. This species is found in the Andes Mountains that separate these two countries. The range extends from 900 metres above sea level to the tree line at 1,800 metres (4). Two additional populations are found in the coastal mountain range of Chile known as the Cordillera de Nahuelbuta (4); these coastal populations are thought to be genetically distinct from the Andean trees (7).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
In the Andes, Araucaria occurs from the upper timber-line at ca. 1,500 to 1,800 m, down to 900 m with scattered individuals as low as 600 m (Veblen et al. 1995). The forests occur on soils derived from volcanic ash deposits (Casertano and Lombardi 1963) or on well-developed soils derived from metamorphic and sedimentary rocks (Peralta 1980). It can form relatively extensive pure stands often on steep volcanic slopes or in association with temperate rainforest species including Nothofagus antarctica, N. dombeyi, N. pumilio and Saxegothaea conspicua (Hechenleitner et al. 2005), however its most common forest type in the Andes is over a sub-canopy of Nothofagus pumilio (Veblen 1982). In the northern subpopulation in the Nahuelbuta Cordillera (southern central Chile) the species occurs at its highest coastal altitude of 1400 m and grows with N. obliqua and N. pumilio while the southern subpopulation occurs at an altitude of 600 m in a highly disturbed landscape dominated by mixed forests of Nothofagus spp. and exotic tree species (Hechenleitner et al. 2005). In Argentina it forms pure stands at between 900 and 1,800 m (Rechene 2000), but it is commonly associated with Nothofagus antarctica or N. pumilio (Funes et al. 2006), in Parque Nacional Lanin 49% of the forest is associated with Nothofagus pumilio and N. dombeyi. Towards the east of its range in Argentina where the rainfall is less (between 1,000 to 1,500 mm) it occurs with Austrocedrus chilensis, Lomatia hirsuta and shrubby species of the steppe vegetation (Burns 1993).

Its ecology is disturbance-driven, mainly by the effect of volcanoes, fire, landslides, snow avalanches and wind. In order to survive such disturbances it has developed effective adaptations, such as thick bark and epicormic buds (Burns 1993, Veblen 1982). A. araucana is predominantly dioecious and its seed is gravity-dispersed or assisted by Austral parakeets (Enicognathus ferrugineus) and other animals (Shepherd et al. 2008). Both seed and pollen are relatively heavy and may not disperse over large distances, although seed dispersal may be assisted by parakeets and other animals (Finckh and Paulsch 1995). Asexual reproduction by root suckering has been reported (Schilling and Donoso 1976), but it is unknown how important this process is to population maintenance and expansion (Veblen et al. 1995). It is a long-lived tree and specimens over 1300 years are not uncommon.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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These trees cast a unique vista in the mountainous regions where they are found, their tall, straight trunks being highly unusual at altitude. They are often found in mixed forests with the deciduous Nothofagus pumilio; the taller monkey puzzle trees emerging above the canopy of these smaller natives (4).
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Associations

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Bjerkandera adusta is saprobic on dead, decayed wood of Araucaria araucana
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
basidiome of Ceraceomyces tessulatus is saprobic on dead, decayed wood of Araucaria araucana
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / parasite
fruitbody of Ganoderma applanatum parasitises live trunk of Araucaria araucana
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / parasite
fruitbody of Ganoderma australe parasitises live trunk of Araucaria araucana

Foodplant / saprobe
fruitbody of Ischnoderma benzoinum is saprobic on dead, fallen trunk (large) of Araucaria araucana

Foodplant / parasite
aecium of Mikronegeria fagi parasitises live Araucaria araucana

Foodplant / saprobe
scattered, immersed then erumpent by minute slit pycnidium of Phoma coelomycetous anamorph of Phoma araucariae is saprobic on dead, fallen scale of Araucaria araucana
Other: sole host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
scattered, immersed then erumpent by pore or slit, amphigenous pycnidium of Phomopsis coelomycetous anamorph of Phomopsis araucariae is saprobic on dead, fallen scale of Araucaria araucana
Remarks: season: 4
Other: sole host/prey

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Araucaria araucana

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Araucaria araucana

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 7
Specimens with Barcodes: 8
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
EN
Endangered

Red List Criteria
B2ab(ii,iii,v)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
Premoli, A., Quiroga, P. & Gardner, M.

Reviewer/s
Thomas, P. & Farjon, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
Araucaria araucana has an actual area of occupancy (AOO) of 392.51 km² which falls within the threshold for Endangered under criterion B2. Within the Andes and the Coastal Cordillera of Chile the population is severely fragmented and there is a continuing decline in its AOO due to a range of debilitating factors including fire, logging and overgrazing. Consequently it is assessed as EN B2ab(ii,iii,v).

History
  • 2000
    Vulnerable
  • 1998
    Vulnerable
    (Oldfield et al. 1998)
  • 1998
    Vulnerable
  • 1997
    Vulnerable
    (Walter and Gillett 1998)
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Status

Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List 2007 (1), and listed on Appendix I of CITES (3).
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Population

Population

The main subpopulation is confined to the Andes, with most of the stands on the western slopes in Chile. In Argentina they are confined to a narrow strip about 200 km in length; the most important forests are 30 to 50 km wide and 150 kilometres long. The eastern-most stands occur as isolated groups (Burns 1993) which are probably remnants of an earlier, wider distribution. These fragmented stands show high levels of genetic variation (Bekessy et al. 2002, Marchelli et al. 2010) and these rear edge subpopulations are considered to be 'disproportionally important for the long-term conservation of genetic diversity' (Hampe and Petit 2005). The coastal cordillera of Chile has two small subpopulations, one mostly confined by Parque Nacional Nahuelbuta and the smaller southern, unprotected site of Villa Las Araucarias. This latter subpopulation is also significantly genetically differentiated (Bekessey et al. 2002).


Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
About 60% of the Argentine Araucaria forests remain after deforestation (Veblen et al. 1999, Rechene 2000) and these forests are under continual threat and degradation: historically this has been caused by fire, logging and overgrazing. The frequency of fires has increased during the 20th century in order to establish agricultural and livestock activities (Marchelli et al. 2010) and this has resulted in severe fragmentation of Araucaria forests. Today the most obvious sign of forest degradation is the lack of natural regeneration that, under normal conditions, follows a ‘pulse’ pattern of highly productive seed years followed by less productive ones (Gallo et al. 2004). Many forests are subject to intensive human use in the form of seed collecting and animal grazing, Araucaria trees are poor at regenerating, and any regeneration that does occur is principally asexual with trees sprouting from roots (Gallo et al. 2004). There are severe threats to Araucaria araucana in the north of its range in Argentina, due to the establishment of plantations of exotic tree species within these native stands (A.C. Premeoli pers. comm.). In Chile the main threat is anthropogenic fires: large areas in several national parks have been destroyed within the last 25 years.
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The tall trunks of the monkey puzzle have been used in construction over the centuries; the wood is very resistant and has been used in buildings, shipping, and furniture (7). In the building industry it is often sold as 'Parana pine' (5). In addition, populations have declined as a result of habitat destruction and unsustainable levels of fire. During 2000 and 2001 thousands of hectares were destroyed by fire in southern Chile (7).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Araucaria araucana is listed on Appendix I of CITES which strictly regulates the trade in its timber and seeds. The listing was approved in Chile in 1979 and transferred from Appendix II to Appendix I in Argentina in 2000 (Anonymous 2000). It is listed as a Natural Monument in Chile which gives it legal protection against logging. Approximately, 65.9% of the forests in the Coastal Range are within private properties, and the State (SNASPE) protects only 34.1% (Echeverría et al. 2004). The subpopulation in Villas Las Araucarias, which has unique genetic characteristics, is currently unprotected by the State (Bekessy et al. 2002, Echeverría et al. 2004 ). There are several Chilean private initiatives which are helping to protect Araucaria forests and these include Parques Para Chile and Reserva Nasampulli. In Argentina most stands have some form of protection, especially in Parque Nacional Lanín and Nahuel-Huapi. However, small and fragmented stands towards the eastern range in Argentina which are as genetically diverse as those on the Andes, occur outside protected areas and deserve particular attention (Marchelli et al. 2010). In Chile, the Villa Las Araucarias forest restoration project is restoring a severely degraded four hectare site (Echeverría et al. 2004). The natural regeneration and survival of Araucaria araucana needs to be urgently evaluated.
.
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Conservation

The monkey puzzle was declared a National Monument in Chile in 1976, a status that prohibits logging (4). The species is also protected in Argentina although logging pressure continues outside of National Parks (4). Conservation recommendations include the development of new protected areas in the coastal mountain range and the mapping of existing populations (7). The Global Trees Campaign is planning restoration activities for the monkey puzzle in areas of its former range (7).
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Wikipedia

Araucaria araucana

"Monkey Tail Tree" redirects here. For the plant sometimes called "Monkey Tail", see Heliotropium curassavicum.

Araucaria araucana (commonly called the monkey puzzle tree, monkey tail tree, Chilean pine, or pehuén) is an evergreen tree growing to 40 m (130 ft) tall with a 2-m (7-ft) trunk diameter. The tree is native to central and southern Chile and western Argentina.[1] Araucaria araucana is the hardiest species in the conifer genus Araucaria. Because of the great age of this species, it is sometimes described as a living fossil. Its conservation status was changed to Endangered by the IUCN in 2013 due to its declining abundance.[2]

It is the national tree of Chile.

Description[edit]

The leaves are thick, tough, and scale-like, triangular, 3–4 cm long, 1–3 cm broad at the base, and with sharp edges and tips. They persist for 10–15 years or more, so cover most of the tree except for the older branches.

This tree is usually dioecious, with the male and female cones on separate trees, though occasional individuals bear cones of both sexes. The male (pollen) cones are oblong and cucumber-shaped, 4 cm long at first, expanding to 8–12 cm long by 5–6 cm broad at pollen release. The tree is wind pollinated. The female (seed) cones, which mature in autumn about 18 months after pollination, are globose, large, 12–20 cm in diameter, and hold about 200 seeds. The cones disintegrate at maturity to release the 3– to 4-cm-long nut-like seeds.

Habitat[edit]

Its native habitat is the lower slopes of the Chilean and Argentinian south-central Andes, typically above 1,000 m (3,300 ft). Juvenile trees exhibit a broadly pyramidal or conical habit which naturally develops into the distinctive umbrella form of mature specimens as the tree ages.[3] It prefers well-drained, slightly acidic, volcanic soil, but will tolerate almost any soil type provided it drains well.

Cultivation and uses[edit]

Distribution map of A. araucana in central Chile

Araucaria araucana is a popular garden tree, planted for its unusual effect of the thick, 'reptilian' branches with a very symmetrical appearance. It prefers temperate climates with abundant rainfall, tolerating temperatures down to about -20°C (-4°F). It is far and away the hardiest member of its genus, and can grow well in western Europe (north to the Faroe Islands and Smøla[4] in western Norway), the west coast of North America (north to the islands of Haida Gwaii in Canada), and locally on the east coast, as well as Long Island, and in New Zealand and southeastern Australia. It is tolerant of coastal salt spray, but does not tolerate exposure to pollution.

Its seeds are edible, similar to large pine nuts, and are extensively harvested in Chile. The tree has some potential to be a food crop in other areas in the future, thriving in climates with cool oceanic summers (e.g. western Scotland) where other nut crops do not grow well. A group of six female trees with one male for pollination could yield several thousand seeds per year. Since the cones drop, harvesting is easy. The tree, however, does not yield seeds until it is around 30–40 years old, which discourages investment in planting orchards (although yields at maturity can be immense); once established, it can live possibly as long as 1,000 years.[5] Once valued because of its long, straight trunk, its current rarity and vulnerable status mean its wood is now rarely used; it is also sacred to some members of the Mapuche Native American tribe.[6] Before the tree became protected by law in 1971, lumber mills in Araucanía Region specialized in Chilean pine.[citation needed] This species is listed in the CITES Appendix I as an endangered species.[7]

Discovery and naming[edit]

First found in Chile in the 1780s,[citation needed] it was named Pinus araucana by Molina in 1782. In 1789, de Jussieu had erected a new genus called Araucaria based on the species, and in 1797, Pavón published a new description of the species which he called Araucaria imbricata (an invalid name, as it did not use Molina's older species epithet). Finally, in 1873, after several further redescriptions, Koch published the combination Araucaria araucana, validating Molina's name in the genus. The name araucana is derived from the native Araucanians who used the nuts (seeds) of the tree in Chile. A group of Araucanians living in the Andes, the Pehuenches, owe their name to their diet based on harvesting of the A. araucaria seeds. Pehuen means Araucaria and che means people in Mapudungun.

The origin of the popular English language name 'monkey puzzle' derives from its early cultivation in Britain in about 1850, when the species was still very rare in gardens and not widely known. The proud owner of a young specimen at Pencarrow garden near Bodmin in Cornwall was showing it to a group of friends, and one remarked, "It would puzzle a monkey to climb that"; as the species had no existing popular name, first 'monkey puzzler', then 'monkey puzzle' stuck.[8]

In France, it is known as désespoir des singes or 'monkeys' despair'.

Relatives[edit]

The nearest relative found is Araucaria angustifolia, a South American Araucaria which differs in the width of the leaves. The recently found 'Wollemi pine', Wollemia, though discovered in south-east Australia, is possibly its relative or possibly a relative of the Norfolk Island pine. Their common ancestry dates to a time when Australia, Antarctica, and South America were linked by land.

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Native areas, Kew Royal Botanic Gardens. Retrieved: 2012-09-20.
  2. ^ Premoli, A., Quiroga, P. & Gardner, M. 2013. Araucaria araucana. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/31355/0. Accessed on 10 July 2013.
  3. ^ "Araucaria Araucana by Michael A. Arnold". 
  4. ^ " Araucaria araucana in Ålesund, Norway". Scanpalm. Retrieved 27 June 2009. 
  5. ^ (Gymnosperm Database).
  6. ^ Anna Lewington & Edward Parker (1999). Ancient Trees. Collins & Brown. ISBN 1-85585-974-2. 
  7. ^ "Appendices I, II and III". CITES. UNEP. Archived from the original on 17 March 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2010. 
  8. ^ Alan Mitchell (1996). Alan Mitchell's Trees of Britain. Collins. ISBN 0-00-219972-6. 
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