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Forest of Confused Monkeys

Forest of Confused Monkeys
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Plants
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-12-29
Categories: Trees
Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds MkII
Exposure: f/6.3, 1/320 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): The Wildlife, Plants and Scenery of Chile [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-12-30 17:37
Viewed: 6142
Points: 48
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Happy New Year everyone - I am in Chile.

OK - so it is an awful title - this is a forest of Araucaria Trees - Monkey Puzzle Trees, growing in their natural habitat. We usually see them grown as ornamental trees.

Conguillío National Park is located in the Andes, in the provinces of Cautín and Malleco, in the Araucanía Region of Chile. Its name derives from the Mapuche word for "water with Araucaria seeds". This national park covers about 608 square kilometers.

Among the attractions in the park are the Llaima volcano (back ground), Sierra Nevada and wild landscapes characterized by islands of vegetation completely surrounded by vast areas of basaltic to andesitic lava flows.

The park was established to preserve some of the last big stands of Monkey Puzzle Trees.

Araucaria araucana (Pehuén or Monkey-puzzle) is the hardiest species in the conifer genus Araucaria. It is native to central Chile and west central Argentina, and is an evergreen tree growing to 40 m tall and 2 m trunk diameter. Because of the species' great age it is sometimes described as a living fossil. Araucaria araucana is the national tree of Chile.

Its native habitat is the lower slopes of the Chilean and Argentinian south-central Andes, typically above 1000 m, in regions with heavy snowfall in winter. Juvenile trees exhibit a broadly pyramidal or conical habit which naturally develops into the distinctive umbrella form of mature specimens as the tree ages. It prefers well drained, slightly acidic, volcanic soil but will tolerate almost any soil type provided drainage is good.

First found in Chile in the 1780s, it was named Pinus araucana by Molina in 1782. In 1789, de Jussieu had erected a new genus called Araucaria based on the species, and in 1797 Pavón published a new description of the species which he called Araucaria imbricata (an invalid name, as it did not use Molina's older species epithet). Finally in 1873, after several further redescriptions, Koch published the combination Araucaria araucana, validating Molina's name in the genus. The name araucana is derived from the native Araucano People who used the nuts (seeds) of the tree in Chile. A group of Araucanians living in the Andes, the Pehuenches, owe their name to their diet based on havresting of the Araucaria seeds. Pehuen means Araucaria and che people in Mapudungun.

Common names
The origin of the popular English name Monkey-puzzle derives from its early cultivation in Britain in about 1850, when the species was still very rare in gardens and not widely known. The proud owner of a young specimen at Pencarrow garden near Bodmin in Cornwall was showing it to a group of friends, and one made the remark "It would puzzle a monkey to climb that"; as the species had no existing popular name, first 'monkey-puzzler', then 'monkey-puzzle' stuck.

As a practical exercise, a monkey trying to climb one would not be so much puzzled as injured by the spiky leaf points. In France it is known as "désespoir des singes" or "monkeys' despair". However, as monkeys are not found in the species' native range, the question does not arise. The species' Mapuche name Pehuén is now becoming more widely used as an alternative common name in English. In Britain prior to 1850, it had been known somewhat confusingly as "Joseph Bank's Pine" or "Chile Pine", as it is not a pine. The spiky leaves of the monkey puzzle were never evolved to stop monkeys however, but rather to stop grazing dinosaurs eating it before it could grow out of their reach, such is the ancient age of this tree.

Llaima volcano last had a major eruption earlier this year - we drove for about 1km over the lava flows.

The bright green trees are Southern Beech - the two trees always grow together.

The grey stuff is volcanic ash.

rousettus, jaycee, eqshannon, ramthakur, Adanac, boreocypriensis, smitha, ferranjlloret, Dis. Ac., horia, mohaiminawang, CeltickRanger, iris, SunToucher, Alex99, bahadir, uleko has marked this note useful
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Hi James
where were you my friend. I am pleasure you came back with a great landscape shot of Confused Monkeys Forest. Amazing beautiful scene. It is also great as a greeting card. I wish you and your family a Happy New Year. Thanks for sharing, best wishes

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-12-30 17:43]

Happy New Year world traveler!! A lovely scene from Chile with the beautiful volcano in the background. Wonderful trees and a pretty funny story of how they got their name. Enjoy the rest of your trip and I look forward to seeing lots of pictures when you get back.


My friend...you are not as bad but getting close...as my other good friend Bobby Whittaker..the tour manager for REM who was on tour in Europe, Asia and SA for 8 months this year...but now he gets to be back in the snow in my wilderness....I was talking with his mother the other day...and I was surprised...she was traveling with Bobby Kennedy all the tour as they are close...and was there when Bobby was shot and at the hospital when he passed...so the family beyond her husband who was first to climb Everest for the US in the early 1960's....this all adds up to travel..Your the traveler..always were..always will be...but you shall not catch up to Bobby and if you do....I'll make sure to tell him he bought the right camera..I told him what you had and he flew to B&H to see it in person...like you and this image....there are few folks like you around!

Happy New Year to you too, James!
I see you are in Chile at the moment. I envy your mobility all over the globe :).
Your picture of Monkey Puzzle trees with a volcanic mountain in the background gives a clear impression of the place. It is a bright and sunny atmosphere you have captured in this landscape. It must be the summer time there, I believe.
Enjoy your stay and show us some more pictures of this distant land.

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  • demeve Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 586 W: 12 N: 1682] (6165)
  • [2008-12-30 18:37]

Hello James,
Great shot of familiar trees for me, we also find these trees
in Brazil. Great colors and composition.. Well done


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  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2008-12-30 20:24]

Hello James,
Happy New Year to you my friend. What a wonderful scene you send us from Chile, so finely captured. Thank you James.
PS Why don't you ever take me with you.

Hello James

Good eye for composition.
The unique trees are wonderful,but with the mountain range well placed in the back ground it really adds flair to this exotic looking shot.
The forest is a nice lush two tone of green and the foreground is so clear and uncluttered.
You can see the forest here ...despite the trees.
Great job.


Hi Brother James, have a great holiday in Chile and happy new year in all around. Wonderful landscape of CMF. THe shapes of the trees are also nice.
TFS and cheers,

Hello James,
Happy New year to you too and enjoy your stay in Chile.:)
Your title left me confused at first. I was thinking where are the confused monkeys when I see only trees and a mountain at the back.But once I read the notes I understood the story behind your caption.Excellent shot. And very informative notes.
Thanks for the share,

Hello James,
Excellent capture, very interesting doc of the forest of Araucaria Trees - Monkey Puzzle Trees
Happy New Year to you too!
Greetings. Ferran

Hi James,

So in Chile, you travlled a lot.
Nice picture from this Monkey trees.

Happy new year 2009.


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  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2008-12-31 5:56]

Hi James

All the best to you, too, my friend and may 2009 be at least as good photography year as 2008 was :) I again want to thank you for your more than generous gesture and i still retain hope that we'll have a chance to meet face to face one day so that i can shake your hand and perhaps even go shooting together :)

Nice to hear from you in Chile...i hope you are doing ok there.
This is another splendid presentation of an interesting side of the world. Leaving the great note aside a bit, i really want to say that i think this photo is also very aesthetic! The composition with the tall vertical trees that give away that big volcano in the BG - very well placed and 1/3 of the frame.
The colors of the short vegetation also bring some extra attention and contrast well with the ash from the immediate FG.
Wonderful work in all aspects, my friend!

Cheers, TFS and Happy New Year!

Hi James,

You bring a great landscape from Chile to us.Nice ornamental tree.Great natural colour and nice POV.You have the longest list of country including Malaysia, i realy proud. TFS.


Happy New Year

hello James

and today we listen your voice from the continent South America !
beautiful landscape and tree shot, with a fine POV and DOF,
i love to see the beautiful mountain between the trees,
beautiful colour tones of the trees and the mountain and sky,
i would crop closer James, just to remove the ground
and let on the image only the trees and the background, TFS

Happy and Healthy New Year 2009


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  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-12-31 10:46]

Hi James. Firstly a very Happy New Year to you . I hope you are having a good time out in Chile. A beautiful looking landscape of the Forest leading up to the mountains. All with rich colours. well done TFS.

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  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2009-01-01 14:16]

I hope you're having a great time in Chile and Happy New Year!
This is a superb shot (with a great title :-))
Very good sharpness.
Excellent DOF.

Well done,

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  • iris Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 479 W: 60 N: 970] (3088)
  • [2009-01-03 3:43]

Dear James,
That was a real stealer ....the title couldnt have been more apt and creative:).Nice narrative that explains your choice of a "confusing" title of the "confused monkeys".
Your posts have a strong bent towards your own subject -Geography and this post is one more to the vast amount of photographs you have brought from across the world and shared with us. For so many of us not able to travel so widely, posts like these make priceless lessons....perhaps that is why we enjoy being part of TN more than any other site.So thank you for what you have been doing and i sure hope you continue to bring back a little piece of parts of the world you travel to in 2009 as well...
Wish you and family a Peaceful and Healthy New Year

Hi Paul,
Its atleast a tilte that attracts the view to the larger photo. :) These trees look very interesting and I am glad people are wise enough to protect them. I love how you combined the trees with the vulcano in your composition. And, how the trees sort of frame it as well.

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  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2009-01-04 10:57]

Hi James.
Happy New Year to you too. I hope your trip to Chili will be great and we'll see your new amazing pictures. I like the pictured scene a lot. Green forest on a mountain BG is looked very nicely. Its colours and details as well as unusual for us vegetation are so attractive. My best regards and TFS.

Well... l never even looked to see if perhaps you had posted a photo while on vacation. I was thinking you might be back home one of these days and just found this.

I think I like these trees best in their native habitat... rather than in the garden. They always look so unfriendly. Here they look stately, and tall and very handsome with the brighter green beeches nestled at their feet. The volcano in the background and the ash in the foreground tells a story and adds a lot of interest to the photo.

While away did you hear about the large swarm of Earthquakes occurring under Yellowstone Lake? It is in the hundreds!! YIPES! I posted a little note about it two postings ago.

Evelynn : )

Hello James,
You're in Chile! And a Happy New Year with lots of images and especially for you...countries:-)
Extraordinary trees, these Araucaria trees.
Once again a very educational contribution and thanks for sharing this.
Have a great time in the Andes and see you.

Hello James, very beautiful scene shot. TFS.

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  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2009-01-13 4:05]

Hello James,
Fantastic greeting from Chile! This is a beautiful view through the Moneky Puzzles to the mountain top beyond. Lovely colours and a fine composition. I wonder where you'll be next?!
YFS and all the best wishes, Ulla

Hi James,
Beautiful capture of the Conguillío National Park.
I like the way you made the framing, with the progression os growing sizes from the volcano to the pines.
It's so good also the two kinds of greens seen on the vegetation.
Congratulations and thanks for share.
My best regards,

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