Europe, mais oui!

There was a rather overwhelming flurry of monkey activity recently, following a mention on a radio programme in Leeds and then @beaubellebotany also publicising the Monkey Map. Really, it is quite amazing just how many people are interested in monkey puzzle trees! So I have a lot of new trees and am still listing the latest finds. But the catalogue total is now at 2,513. Good work everyone.

I’m going to start with international finds, as it’s always nice to get those, and Europe has made a good appearance into the catalogue lately. I have now decided to use three letter country codes in Europe (rather than two letters) to avoid any confusion, for example I now have Luxembourg (LUX) on the map and ‘LU’ is already in use for Luton.

Agent Baxter had managed to find the most northerly monkey puzzle tree in Tromso Botanic Garden – reported  here – and in doing so found a second tree in Norway, so that adds Norway to the map with NOR1 and NOR2.

Sophie Leguil found some more trees in Brussels. Her first four finds were four trees in the very aptly named road, Avenue de l’Araucaria.

BE1 to BE4

BEL1 to BEL4

Recent finds are BEL5 in Forumlaan, Laeken.



And also in Brussels a lovely set of photos of 30 trees (Sophie’s estimate, but she will count them) over a hundred year period in Avenue Louise, with a lovely old postcard from 1901 showing the trees then. This is nice group of trees as a road feature, much like the four above.

BE6 to BE15

BEL6 to BEL35

BEL36 in Brussels, which has been protected since 2009, it is 17m tall and has a girth of 234cm.



And BEL37 in Namur.

BEL17 Namur


Sophie also sent me our first four trees in Luxembourg, LUX1.

LUX1 Rue Sainthe-Zithe Luxembourg


A lovely pair LUX2 and LUX3.

LUX2 LUX3 pair Boulevar Emmanuel Servais Luxembourg

LUX2 and LUX3

And LUX4.

LUX4 Rue des Tanneurs Grevennmacher


We recently had our first French monkey puzzle tree, known as ‘Monkey’s Despair’ in French, it was Sophie who gave me the translation. She’s found another one in France, this is a lovely photograph from probably 1900 with a young tree to the left of the Hotel de Ville, and then very poignantly the mature tree now next to the war memorial. The building is now the Mairie. This is FRA2 in Liancourt.


The first tree in France for the catalogue was FRA1 in Saint-Pol-de-Léon in Brittany, and I thought that must mean there are more in the area. And sure enough, Sophie also sent me a link to the Arbres remarquables en Bretagne website, which has 16 listings for trees in Brittany, one photo shows a pair so that’s 17 trees. The trees are all big mature specimens. Their approximate locations can be seen on the map below as green markers but I can’t get exact locations from their map, so we are in need of an agent in that area….

-FRA Brittany 17 map

Sophie also sent me a link to a French inventory of Araucaria heterophylla on the website Gardenbreizh, and there is also a page for Araucaria araucana there as well, with a few photos of trees but not all with locations. A couple are shown in Guéret, central France, so if you’re part of the Gardenbreizh community I’d love to have your trees to add to the catalogue. Merci!

Araucaria heterophylla is a relative of the monkey puzzle tree, one of the 13 members of the genus Araucaria

Araucaria heterophylla, or Norfolk Island pine is endemic to Norfolk Island, a small island in the Pacific Ocean between Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia.  It is sometimes called a star pinetriangle tree or living Christmas tree, due to its symmetrical shape as a sapling, although it is not a true pine.

Sophie told me that Araucaria heterophylla were very popular in Belgium before the war, as houseplants. Sophie remembers her grandmother having one as a Christmas tree. And she sent a link to a Stereoview photograph (for sale) which shows a greenhouse in Ghent cultivating huge numbers of Araucaria heterophylla:

BEL Araucaria Ghentbrugge

Now I actually have enough on my hands with this Araucaria araucana catalogue, and am not planning to catalogue Araucaria heterophylla as well! But it is well-loved by monkey puzzle fans, and I have some images in my collection and this seems an appropriate place to put them. Several from Singapore and Sri Lanka:


heterophylla1 update

And a general miscellany from India, Cornwall and IKEA!


So, a minor digression there.

Back to Europe. European countries now represented on the Monkey Map now are Belguim, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway and Sweden. Always glad to receive your international finds.


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.


6 thoughts on “Europe, mais oui!

  1. The Avenue Louise group has around 30 trees (will count next time I’m there :p). The city seems to be proud of that little exotic-looking square, so they have been replanting younger ones.
    My heterophylla pics were taken in Sri Lanka, not Singapore ;)
    I will post messages on French/German gardening forums in case that can help get more records…

  2. Greetings – Monkey-puzzle trees are common all over Ireland, including a famous century-old avenue. I hope you can cover some of them in your researches.
    S. O Mahony.

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