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Monkey Puzzle Seeds

Soft starchy seeds have been feeding humans, rodents and birds since Jurassic Period


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Monkey puzzle tree produces large seeds which have an extremely hard shell but soft starchy inside that tastes like pine nuts. Although the tree starts giving seeds only after it reaches maturity and that process takes from 30 to 40 years, the harvests are always bountiful. The harvest takes place in September and October, when the cones fall down on the ground. Monkey puzzle seeds are appealing to both humans and wildlife species, in particular rodents and birds. This tree belongs to evergreen long-living conifers and is said to have existed since Jurassic Period. Its original name is Araucaria aracuana and its native habitats are Chile and western Argentina. The tree assumed its modern name of monkey puzzle​ in the middle 19th century when the species was introduced in England. According to the traditional story, an English owner exposed the rare tree to his friends and, judging from its unusual foliage, one of them said that “it would puzzle a monkey to climb such a tree”. Since then it has been called monkey puzzler.

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