Answer to March 2014

20131214_090414This is, of course, a close up of the top of Araucaria araucana, the monkey puzzle tree that stood next to the delicatesen on Wellsway and has been a feature of Bear Flat for many years.   For understandable reasons, the tree was cut down in early 2014.

The species is native to southern South America and individual trees can live to a great age, up to 1000 years old.  It was first cultivated in Britain in the mid 19th century.  Its popular name is supposed to have derived from an off-the-cuff remark by a visitor to Pencarrow, Bodmin who, on seeing a specimen with its rough, reptilian-like branches, said “it would puzzle a monkey to climb that”.  The French name is désespoir des singes or ‘monkeys’ despair’

The photograph below of Hayesfield Terrace was taken in 1906 and shows the young tree on the right hand side.  It is likely to have been around 120 years old when it was finally cut down.

Hayesfield Terrace - cropped