How desperate can a monkey get?
Pretty much, it turns out, especially as it comes across a species of the Araucaria araucana (otherwise known as “monkey’s despair” tree in France)! This fright of a tree has made many a monkey see all the colours of the rainbow, gape, gasp, stare in disbelief, then cry in awe and finish by biting its monkey fingernails smitten with despair! Located in the tiny park Square Boucicaut, just behind the Bon Marché and the Sèvres-Babylone metro station, a proud Parisian specimen of Araucaria Araucana is ready to freak out all potential monkeys in passing. Here’s what the fuss is all about:
First found in Chile in the 1780s, the tree has thick, tough triangular leaves with sharp edges and tip and no handy branches which our monkey friends could grasp and happily swing on. Having said this, if I were a monkey, I would be pretty desperate myself!
Named “monkey puzzle” in Britain, the origin of the tree’s name is just as curious. During its early cultivation in the UK in about 1850 when the species was still rare and not widely known in public gardens, the proud owner of a young specimen at Pencarrow garden in Cornwall was showing off his new acquisition to a group of friends, when one of them made the prompt remark “It would puzzle a monkey to climb that”.
And whereas in Britain, it would “puzzle” a monkey to climb “that”, in France the same monkey would be practically thrown into fits of despair.
What’s left for us is hope that there aren’t many loose monkeys jumping around the Parisian public gardens…