The Araucaria District of Chile (just north of the Lakes District) has many volcanic peaks, in addition to ridges of basalt from volcanic activity and hotsprings. The soil is dark and fertile, supporting a diverse temperate rainforest and highland forests. Lower elevations have many types of southern beech (coigue, roble, etc) and canelo (from the magnolia family) trees, which look like hardwood trees from rainforests, and often have vines climbing on them.
The araucaria (monkey puzzle) trees are the main type of evergreen trees here, with their unique umbrella shape and large cones that provide large pine nuts, pinoñes. They are called monkey puzzle trees because the bark resembles a puzzle. The araucaria tree is the symbol of CONAF (Corporacion Nacional Forestal, kind of like their park service), and is a protected tree in Chile. These trees can be up to 2,000 years old and 150 feet tall. They shed their branches as they grow, and their trunks have many knots where the old limbs were. When the trunks decompose, the knots remain longer than the core and the rotten trunks look like spinal cords.
In many areas where the forest has been disturbed, or light can get through the canopy, a bamboo like grass (quila or colihue) grows thickly. Familiar plants also seen in North America include quince/rose hips, blackberry, wild strawberry, fuchsia (called chilco as a native plant here), hydrangea, fox gloves and alstroemarias. They also have a type of huckleberry and a plant that looks like a flowering holly bush, but is not holly (notro).
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