OK, so the news in monkey world is that the postcode challenge is continuing to go well. I heard from Dave Brown with our first in PE, this is at the very nicely named Cowbit roundabout on the A16. Thank you Dave!
So there’s still 13 postcode areas with no trees spotted – yet – and you can read where they are on the Postcode challenge update, here.
I’m also delighted to welcome a new agent. Agent Naturanaute has been single handedly scooping up sightings all over Europe – in Austria, Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. We now have a total 72 monkey puzzle trees in our European collection (which also includes Italy, Sweden and Norway), and 64 of these have been spotted by Agent Naturanaute. Bon travail!
Agent Naturanaute also hunts monkey puzzle trees in the UK in London and whilst travelling, and of course they will be credited accordingly.
Agent Naturanaute also brought this tree to our attention.
This tree was planted in the middle of the 19th century by the princess Napoleone Elisa Baciocchi, niece of Napoleon 1st. She established the village of Colpo in Brittany from nothing, building a church, school, a hospital, and farms. The tree has a girth of 3.80m so it’s a large tree. In 2015, roadworks to widen a nearby road have decided that the hard shoulder has to go where the araucaria is, so the road department wants to fell it. Despite a petition to save the tree it has been felled today. The link to the news story is here, and more pictures here (both articles are in French).
Of the seven trees in the catalogue (so far), five of them are in Brittany. In fact 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 our dedicated agent 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…. Agent Naturanaute has located the first two trees on this list – in Dinan FRA4, and in Languenan FRA5 – this is a nice tree outside the Mairie, as we also saw at Liancourt FRA2, featured on the blog in this post.
Agent Naturanaute said it would be really interesting to know where they have all come from. Were they fashionable there as they were in the UK?
Agent Naturanaute sent me a link to a story about some seeds (and trees) at Pennendreff – article here (in French) with photos, which translates as follows:
The araucaria of Chile were discovered about 1780 by Spanish Francisco Dendariena looking for useful trees for naval construction. The species was introduced for the first time in Europe in London, in 1795, thanks to the famous botanist Archibald Menzies.
The first seeds in France were brought back by Nicolas Joseph Marie de Kersauzon, a naval officer, at the beginning of the 19th century, from travels in the southern Pacific on the brig ‘The Lancer’. The seeds were sown between 1823 and 1826 in the park of the manor of Pennendreff in Plourin, Finistere (in Brittany), and became established trees.
However, in 1893, an article of D. Bois, in the horticultural review, reported that only six trees were still standing. The largest measured 2.27m in girth. Louis Pardé visited them in 1908 and measured the largest (a female) at 2.65m girth and 25m in height.
In 1971, there were just four trees left, and they were killed or destroyed in storms. Today, there remain some descendants of these first araucarias introduced in France. They are still visible in the garden of the manor of Pennendreff.
A sad loss. Imagine what a fine avenue of trees they would have made:
And, from Agent Naturanaute’s collection I particularly liked this little tree, it’s in a zoo in Salzburg in Austria, our first Austrian monkey puzzle tree – in a monkey enclosure too!
When not looking for monkey puzzle trees, Agent Naturanaute has her own blog about ‘natural wonders, from urban parks to lush rainforests’, and you can find that here. Great to have you on the monkey team Sophie!
And another European find to finish this post. A lovely monkey puzzle tree in Norway, spending the winter under snow, look forward to seeing the tree when the spring arrives. Thanks to Ellen Kopstad for this picture of her tree. She tells me she first saw monkey puzzle trees in Scotland and was fascinated, so now has her own tree.
I’ll be back shortly with latest UK finds and another new agent.
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.