Araucaria araucana - Monkey Puzzle tree

Araucaria anguvstifolia, another member of the pan-global Araucariaceae family, many of which have edible seeds and multiple other ethnobotanical uses.

Native to It is native to central and southern Chile and western Argentina. A. araucana is the national tree of Chile. Its conservation status was changed to Endangered by the IUCN in 2013 due to the dwindling population caused by logging, forest fires, and grazing.

The large seeds, or pinions, are edible can be consumed, prepared in a wide variety of ways. The tree, however, does not yield seeds until it is around 30 to 40 years old, which discourages investment in planting orchards (although yields at maturity can be immense); once established, it can live possibly as long as 1,000 years.

Araucaria bidwillii - Bunya-Bunya pine

Araucaria angustifolia - Para pine, Brazilian pine, Candelabra tree

Old plum varieties in Lake County, California

Here are some interesting old plum varieties found on a semi-abandoned orchard in Lake County, California along with a wide variety of other fruit and nut trees.

Arecaceae, Jubaea chilensis

I came across this solitary Jubaea chilensis planted in a town near where I live. In the autumn it produces massive quantities of seed. The Jubaea chilensis palm has one of the most monumental trunks of any plant in this family. The thickest well - documented trunk was 66 inches in diameter. Of the more than 2,600 known species of palms. J. chilensis is the second most massive, exceeded only by the floodplain or river bottom variety of Borassus aethiopium. The round seeds resemble miniature coconuts, with an edible coco meat and liquid in the center.

I am currently trying to germinate 150 seeds collected 9 months ago.

Asclepias fascicularis - Narrow-leaf milkweed

Below are photos of the spectacular flower and thin leaf of Asclepias fascicularis, the narrow-leaf milkweed. This species, and others in its genus, is a specific monarch butterfly food and habitat plant. Planting milkweeds and helping to support their populations can aid in creating habitat for the dwindling populations of monarch butterfly.

Narrow-leaf milkweed flower and bud at varying stages.

Narrow-leaf milkweed flower and bud at varying stages.

Narrow leaf milkweed leaf and unopened flower (bud).

Narrow leaf milkweed leaf and unopened flower (bud).

A plant from Chile kills and eats sheep...

Puya chilensis, a temperate climate evergreen perennial and close relative to the comparatively tame pineapple, catches, kills and feeds off of relatively large mammals, including sheep.

P. chilensis doesn’t consume and digest plants by way of conventional carnivorous plant methods, but nonetheless, it will snag and trap a sheep in its masses of thorns, holding the animal until it dies of starvation, and then it will proceed to feed off nutrients supplied by the decomposing carcass.

The young leaf shoots of P. chilensis can be eaten by people. Baskets and such are made from strong fibers obtained from the leaves and stems of the plant.

Here is a short recent article on Puya chilensis, apparently a 10ft specimen has just bloomed for the first time at RHS Garden Wisely, in England. Cara Smith, a Horticulturist at Wisley had this to say about the rare occurrence:  “I’m really pleased that we’ve finally coaxed our Puya chilensis into flower. We keep it well fed with liquid fertilizer as feeding it on its natural diet might prove a bit problematic. It’s growing in the arid section of our glasshouse with its deadly spines well out of reach of both children and sheep alike.”

So, needless to say, Puya chilensis is a great contender for privacy screening / security planting along boarders shared with pesky neighbors.

Here are some photo I have posted previously of a very close relative to Puya chilensis, Puya berteroniana, spectacular in its own regard for its massive aquamarine/blue and orange flower spikes.

Sorbus domestica hybrids - Hybrid Mountain Ash

An overview and photos of Luther Burbank’s Sorbus domestica hybrids in Sebastopol, California. Sorbus domestica has much potential in agroforestry systems, reforestation and further domestication / selection / hybridization.

Eriodictyon californicum - Yerba Santa

Yerba Santa is a Borage relative that grows in a variety of habitats including chaparral and Coast Redwood forests.

The leaves have historically been used to treat asthma, upper respiratory infections and allergic rhinitis. The Concow tribe calls the plant  wä-sä-got’-ō. The Chumash used it as a poultice  for wounds, insect bites, broken bones, and sores. It was also used in a steam bath to treat hemorrhoids.

Eriodictyon californicum
Eriodictyon californicum