A newcomer has taken root in the grounds at CLC Duchally Country Estate, a young Araucaria Araucana – popularly known as the Monkey Puzzle Tree.
Highly unusual in appearance, it has been planted as part of the iCONic project – a Perthshire based mission to save some of the world’s most threatened trees from extinction.
Tom Christian, project officer, said: “iCONic is working to create safe-havens for a range of species in different sites in Perthshire Big Tree Country, where young trees can be planted to act as a potential future source of material for forest restoration programmes.”
CLC Duchally Country Estate resort manager Graeme MacDonald said. “We are building a small fence around it for protection as it grows and there will be an information plaque for guests. We are sure our very own Monkey Puzzle will have visitors, especially children, scratching their heads at this curiosity of the botanic world.”
The Monkey Puzzle tree originates from South America and can grow to 40 metres (130ft), and is generally thought to live up to 150 years. Its seeds are edible, reputedly similar in taste to pine nuts, but not until the tree reaches a maturity of 30-40 years – so don’t expect them in any CLC Duchally Country Estate dishes anytime soon!