A giant Monkey Puzzle Tree towers over California Street near Franklin in Pacific Heights. I love these strange trees. I had heard that they were introduced to the US West Coast during a World's Fair agricultural exhibition in the early 1900s, representing Chile most likely as it is that South American country's emblematic symbol. Though it's properly known as Araucaria araucana, I prefer the french name, Déspoir des Singes, "Monkey's Despair." It is the hardiest of conifers and ancient, a living fossil; such an impressive tree gracing this high Victorian block.
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