Sometimes referred to as the Chile Pine it is also a native of Argentina.
This ancient slow growing evergreen tree is well known for its distinctive long slender branches that are densely covered with overlapping spiked leaves. Introduced into the UK in 1795 by Archibald Menzies the famous Navy surgeon who later turned plant collector, it won the Award of Merit in 1980.
Amazingly enough, it was once a native of Britain. The fossilized wood from this tree was highly coveted by Queen Victoria. Otherwise known as Jet, it was used in the making of mourning jewellery.
Hardy in the UK they are often planted far too close to houses so have to be removed before they get to maturity.
This unusual conifer prefers a moist loamy soil and has great apical dominance drawing the tree up strongly vertical so it is very suited to crown lifting.
Try not to handle the foliage unless you are well protected as the leaves are very sharp!
The cones are globular up to 20cm in length and take up to three years to mature.
Mature height: 20m+
Mature spread: 6-8m