This strange and rather prehistoric-looking tree stands in a park in downtown Santa Rosa. It's a Monkey Puzzle tree (Auracaria araucana), native to Chile, where it's the national tree, and Argentina. I discovered, the first time I saw the tree, that the leaves must be handled with great care or their stiff, sharp points will stab you painfully. According to Wikipedia the seeds are edible, so I'll be sure to try some when the cones fall. In the name of science, of course! It takes thirty to forty years for a Monkey Puzzle to begin producing seeds and the tree can live as long as a thousand years.
I've found three others in this county and have wanted to sketch one for a while. I was in the park enjoying an iced latte on a beautiful Sunday afternoon and decided to give it a try. I think I'll have to come back with some bigger paper and color sometime. In the meantime, you can find out more about Monkey puzzle trees at Wikipedia and in an article by Dr. T. Ombrello of the Union County College biology department in New Jersey.