When we visited Pencarrow house in Cornwall earlier this year, we were told the story of how an 19th century owner, Sir William Molesworth, bought the first specimen of Araucaria araucana, and planted it in a solemn ceremony before a house party. Upon touching its prickly leaves, the noted barrister Charles Austin remarked “It would be a puzzle for a monkey”. His remark has given the tree its common name of Monkey Puzzle.

This is a macro of the end of one of the branches of a young Monkey Puzzle tree in a local park.

Monkey Puzzle tree, Araucaria araucana