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I came across this tree when going for a walk last weekend.

I live in a rather cold climate. In winter we experience -10°C and less so I was suprised to find this tree that looks like it comes from some warmer climate. Anyone knows what that is?

unknown tree

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It is Araucaria araucana (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Araucaria_araucana), commonly called the "monkey puzzle tree" in the UK (presumably because attempting to climb it would be an prickly experience).

Its native habitat is in Chile at high altitudes (above 1000m).

It is hardy down to about -20C.

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  • and a popular ornamental in the UK. I don't think I've ever seen one here in the US. For trivia, "Whitby Jet" is thought to have been formed from an ancestor of the Monkey Puzzle. – winwaed Jan 7 at 14:23
  • They are popular in Victoria, BC Canada. I believe they do not like hot summers. That is why they do well in the UK and the PNW – GardenGems Jan 7 at 18:31
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    I think "popular" is a bit of an overstatement in the UK, but they are distinctive enough that once you have seen one, you don't forget what it is. In young specimens the lowest branches are almost at ground level and about same length as the height of the tree, so an 8 or 10 foot tall tree takes up a lot of space and you can't easily access the ground underneath it to grow anything else! – alephzero Jan 7 at 19:23

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