Portland puzzle

Well the (now) usual flow of daily email and Twitter contact has produced a range of new trees for the catalogue, which are gradually added to the growing collection and to the Google map. I’ve been adding trees in postcode areas DG, CH, L, PL, GL, LL, SY. PR and our first in BT from Agent Doug, and some IE finds too. Agent Doug says he saw (but wasn’t able to stop to photograph them) lots of trees around Omagh, Strabane, through to Derry – so we are now looking for an agent in the area! All good. So with these latest finds, the catalogue is at 1,959 trees.

Yesterday Gail in Florida wrote to me, having found the blog and being a monkey puzzle fan herself. She said she’d only seen the trees when she lived in the UK, but was delighted to have found two whilst on vacation in Oregon. One of ‘her’ trees is in Portland, and the other on the coast at Shore Acres State Park. I did already have just two trees in Portland on the map, and a few others in the Pacific Northwest – and was hoping that more would find their way to the catalogue. So thanks Gail!

Gail’s first find is in Portland:

OR3 map

And the second one growing happily in a coastal location at Shore Acres State Park:

OR4 map

And there’s more…. the next day Gail reported back saying she’d found a Google map showing loads of MPTs in the Portland area and three along the coast west of Portland. Here is the map:

Monkey puzzle trees in Portland

Monkey puzzle trees of Portland, Oregon

Amazing. So, someone else has been doing the same as me, but just in their local area. The map doesn’t link to a blog or give any details of who has compiled this blog – so if you know please do let me know so I can credit them. The map contains a list of trees and locations, but no photos. Through Google I’ve been putting tracking down the trees so I can catalogue them. There are 67 trees here to be added, which means that we’ve crossed 2,000 – in fact 2,026 to be precise.

Gail also very helpfully went on to send me some links which might explain why there are so many trees in Portland. The blog of Henry E Hooper contains this fascinating article – here – about noticing that there were quite a number of monkey puzzle trees in NE Portland. The “go-to source” for unique information on plants in the neighbourhood, the Pryhar sisters, were consulted, and this is what they told him:

Sherry Pryhar said to me, “The trees you are talking about are Monkey Puzzle or Monkey Tail trees.  They are all a little over 100 years old.”  When I asked her how she knew that fact, she said that the trees, native to South America, had been given away as seedlings to all takers during the Lewis & Clark Centennial (1905) in downtown Portland. The Centennial was a sort of World’s Fair, and exotic items from around the globe were on display, doled out and for sale. Most of the Monkey Puzzle trees were planted in the yards of NE Portland dwellers from that celebration from long ago. Now over 100 years later there are about 50 of them that tower over the homes and streets of Portland. They seem to like the climate.

So that explains it. And, whilst doing research about this, I discovered that in 1889, the Portland Rose Society was founded, and promoted the planting of 20 miles (32 km) of Portland’s streets with roses in advance of the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition, earning Portland the nickname of ‘Rose City’.

Gail also sent me a link about monkey puzzle trees in Seattle, and an article – here – about a tree which was being moved. This article says that ‘the trees became so popular here that saplings were handed out during the Seattle World’s Fair in 1962’. So I hope someone in Seattle will be able to send me their finds.

So with it’s temperate climate the Pacific Northwest is well suited to the monkey puzzle tree, and I am delighted to have found these latest additions to the catalogue.

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This ‘Monkey Map’ project is a personal project and the work of me, Sarah Horton. I am helped by my task of cataloguing all monkeys by keen monkey puzzle hunters who also do this in their free time. It is a work of personal passion and brings me great joy. Thank you everyone for your support. 

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