Definition of monkey puzzle in English:

monkey puzzle

(also monkey puzzle tree)


  • An evergreen coniferous tree with branches covered in spirals of tough, spiny, leaflike scales, native to Chile.

    Araucaria araucana, family Araucariaceae

    • ‘The stubborn resistance of the Araucanians, who lent their name to the monkey puzzle tree and delighted in its piñons, left a strong Indian influence.’
    • ‘A 40 ft monkey puzzle tree with branches only at the top of the trunk provided just the right amount of shade for three sun-loving cricket fans.’
    • ‘Logging and agricultural development have reduced the distribution of Chile's famed national tree - the monkey puzzle tree - to three small areas of the country.’
    • ‘The tree which was stolen was an araucaria, or monkey puzzle, which was planted in memory of Maurice by his family.’
    • ‘Meyer outlines global problems, and then as evidence of how grim the cause of conservation is, he lists dire stories of individual species like red squirrels and monkey puzzle trees.’


Mid 19th century: said to be so named in response to a remark that an attempt to climb the tree would puzzle a monkey.


monkey puzzle