The fact that it grows to a 60 to 70 ft height or even a whopping 150 ft in favourable circumstances? And you do know it is going to be about 30 tot 35 ft wide? Do we really have that much space to waste on this worst of all Stephen King's nightmares come true?
And it really is a dinosaur. Apparently it was already visually obnoxious about a cool 60 million years ago. And it is still here today. Why?
Well, we got some Brit to thank for that: Archibald Menzies (naval surgeon and botanist) who attended a state dinner in Chile late in the 18th century. And there he was served some seeds from the Araucaria araucana tree (yes, the official name for the MP tree). Apparently the seeds are almond sized and tasty so Menzies ate some and put some in his pocket, forgot all about them and went home to the UK. There he unfortunately recalled that he had some very special seeds in the pocket of one of his coats and these seeds were planted at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew where, alas, they germinated and turned into little trees. (Thanks a bunch, Archie!)
In the early 1800's another British chap (they're all over the place, aren't they?) after observing this well-armed tree, said it would be a puzzle for any monkey attempting to climb such a tree. Hence it's name. Personally I think that any monkey worth it's salt would run screaming for its Mummy as soon as it would clap eyes on this tree. Such a sensible reaction! I felt like running and screaming when I first was visually assaulted by that horrible tree.
Back to Britain again, where the name of the tree and the story behind it, tickled the fancy of the general public and having a Monkey Puzzle tree became all the rage. Unfortunately it spread like the proverbial black plague to the European continent as well.
Ever wondered why even the most die-hard of all treehuggers won't touch this tree, not even with an exceptionally long barge pole? Because it's bloody lethal, that's why! Look at those sharp and stiff leaves. They last for 10 to 15 years, the little blighters. That tells you something about how tough they are. Not forgetting those cones the female trees produce, which are 6 to 12 inches long and look a bit like coconuts. It's really not very clever to stand beneath a female tree when she's shedding her cones!
Dinosaurs have been extinct for a very long time now, but we're still stuck with this horrific botanical dinosaur and most primitive of all living conifers. Isn't it high time it took it's final bow, went to meet it's maker, kicked the bucket, was pushing up the daisies, in short, died?!
How about cutting them down? Chopping them up into little pieces, burn the pieces, then bury them and stomp on them a few times for good measure. Maybe do a little dance on the remains? There, that will teach them!
And all the little baby Monkey Puzzle trees we can dig up and sent to Chile as there seems to be a shortage of them over there, high up in the Andes, where there is lots of space to grow and no monkeys or people to upset.
And of course removing a Monkey Puzzle tree will leave a big gap in the garden, but that can easily be filled with something nice like an apple or pear tree, or a lovely Amelanchier. They are so much nicer, don't you think? There, I feel much better now!
copyright 2007 Y.E.W. Heuzen
The world we live in is a garden
Mankind reaps what mankind sows
We are farming our future
Harvesting the things we grow.
Linda Beck, Peace Tree, 1988