Saturday, 31 January 2009


The first Araucaria planted in Portugal is still growing at the Parque do Monteiro-Mor (the Jardim Palmella) in Lumiar. Planted in 1841/2 it is now more or less 168 years old and 60m high. The tree had been brought from an English nursery by Friedrich Welwitsch who worked for the Duque de Palmela, Pedro de Sousa Holstein. The first-generation of seedlings produced were planted in 1864.

At Monserrate the first three Araucarias (all A. heterophylla) date from 1852. They must have been brought from England. These trees were 60 feet high (about 18 m) by 1870. Numerous other references accompany their phenomonal growth through the decades, the surviving tree, at the bottom of the lawn was about 50 m (164 ft) high when I measured it in the 1980's.

Other species have been recorded at Monserrate. In 1870 there were A. excelsa (A. heterophylla), Araucaria bidwilli (20 ft), Araucaria cunninghamii (50 ft), Araucaria glauca, probably a variety of A. cunninghamii. Later Araucaria brasiliensis and Araucaria rulei were added.

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