Nahuelbuta National Park was created in 1939 and it located in the highest sector of the Cordillera de Nahuelbuta, in the Araucania Region. It is a sanctuary for Araucaria araucana – the Monkey Puzzle tree, which is also the national tree of Chile. It includes areas with great concentrations of Araucarias and also other points of interest, like the Stone of the Eagle, a viewpoint from where, on clear days, you can experience a breathtaking vista from the Pacific Ocean to the volcanoes of the Andes (featured image).
Araucaria araucana – the Monkey Puzzle tree, is native to central and southern Chile, western Argentina and southern Brasil. Quite a statuesque tree, it can grow up to 40 m tall and 2 m wide in diameter. During a day-hike in Nahuelbuta, you can witness Araucaria trees of all ages, from very young to very old, and the changes in their habit. When young they are broadly pyramidal, and then they develop a distinctive umbrella shape crown. It is the hardiest member of the genus Araucaria, and tolerates temperatures of –20º C in temperate climates with plenty of rainfall. Widely appreciated for the ‘reptilian’ look of its branches it is also popular as an ornamental tree.
Many other new and exciting species are awaiting for the visitor to Nahuelbuta, like for example the brightly coloured parasitic plant Desmaria mutabilis and the not so bright but also parasitic Misodendron linearifolium.