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Araucaria araucana

Araucaria araucana (syn. Araucaria imbricata) of the family Araucariaceae

A Latin American wood, also known as Monkey Puzzle Pine and Chilean Pine.

Closely related to parana pine / Araucaria angustifolia and more distantly related to a group of other Araucaria species which are sold as Norfolk Pine and which have end grain characteristics that are noticeably different from monkey puzzle and parana pine.

A note about Araucaria "pine" species: there are shared common names among these. This list shows how they are used on this site (which I belived to be the most common usage) along with some alternate common names to show some of the possible confusion:
  • monkey puzzle
    • Araucaria araucana = monkey puzzle, monkey puzzle tree, Chilean pine, monkey puzzle pine
  • Norfolk pine
    • Araucaria columnaris = Cook's pine, Norfolk island pine, Norfolk pine, New Caledonia pine
    • Araucaria cunninghamii = monkey puzzle, hoop pine, Moreton bay pine, Norfolk island pine, Queensland pine
    • Araucaria heterophylla = Norfolk island pine, Cook's pine, island pine, Norfolk pine
    • Araucaria hunsteinii (syn Araucaria klinkii) = klinki pine, hoop pine, Norfolk island pine
    • CLOSELY RELATED: araucaria bidwillii = monkey puzzle tree, false monkey puzzle tree, bunya pine
  • parana pine
    • Araucaria angustifolia = monkey puzzle tree, Brazilian pine, parana pine
    • Araucaria braziliana = parana pine

my samples:
NOTE: these pics were all taken in very bright incandescent lighting --- colors will vary under other lighting conditions

both sides of a sample plank listed as monkey puzzle / Araucaria araucana

end grain and end grain closeup of the sample plank directly above

END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above

both sides of a piece of monkey puzzle / Araucaria araucana --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by Mark Peet whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.

end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above

END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above

monkey puzzle cookie and a closeup. This piece was contributed to the site by Larry Cook; thanks Larry. This was sanded to 400 grit, so the end grain (it's ALL end grain) is very clear but not up to the standards of my usual END GRAIN UPDATE

both sides of a knot area --- the first side is sanded to about 400 grit and the second side is rough-sanded. HUGE enlargements are present.

end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above

face grain closeup and backlit face grain of the piece directly above --- the color of the backlit pic is COMPLETELY wrong but I was unable to get it to come out right. The piece is 1/4" thick so it is not nearly as translucent as the earrings down at the bottom of the page but the COLOR is exactly the orange that you see down there, not this purple color shown here.

web pics:

turning stock listed as monkey puzzle / Araucaria arucana, and with blue stain and knots


bowl blanks listed as monkey puzzle / Araucaria araucana


6"x3" bowl by Steve Earis and the blank it was turned from; extreme enlargements are available on the bowl

bowl with what appears to be blue stain, although it was not listed as such


two views of a spinner's "drop spindle"

monkey puzzle / Araucaria araucana earrings by Dean Robertson who got the wood from ornamental trees growing in Washington state. Dean tells me there are no artificial colors added, just a finishing agent, but they are cut thin so the orange is translucent and these are back-lit to enhance the effect. Extreme enlargements are present

Dean and I did a trade and my daughter got a pair of his earrings. These have the translucence shown in his pics above but I had only a few minutes to get these pics (it's a long story) so did not manage to get a good back-lit pic.

another trade resulted in 2 more pair, a "normal" sized one and one of Dean's small pairs. His pics above show the translucent nature of these better than I can so I did not even try for good back-lit pics.