A puzzle in the wilderness?
The Wilderness at Adlington is home to many exotic trees and shrubs but none more divisive of opinion than Araucaria araucana the Monkey Puzzle Tree. A true ‘Marmite’ plant, where even the origin of its common name is disputed. Originally introduced to Britain in 1795 it was not until the 1840’s when a reliable seed supply ensured it’s remarkable popularity during the Victorian period. The specimens planted in the Wilderness at Adlington date from this time and have been considered the largest in Cheshire. Normally the tree is dioecious with separate male and female plants but occasionally specimens carry both male and female flowers. One such specimen thrives at Adlington and a few weeks ago we discovered its progeny growing in a clearing close to the River Dean in the Wilderness. As the seeds produced are very edible to wildlife this is a rare occurrence and no doubt the result of a squirrel losing it’s stash. We will watch over and protect this rare self sown seedling in its crucial early years and it will hopefully grow to become symbolic of the renewal of the Wilderness at Adlington.