The seeds are shed between March and April and germinate the following spring after dispersion (4). Falling to the base of their parent tree they are dispersed by a wide variety of animals such as birds (Enicognathus leptorhynchus), rodents (Phyllotis darwinii) and cattle (4). The seeds of the monkey puzzle constitute an important food source for the indigenous Pehuenche people, who have been collecting these protein-rich seeds for centuries (7).
Monkey puzzle trees have a number of adaptations to survive fire, and may need low levels of fire to maintain the population. Volcanic activity and fire caused by lightning are regular features of this landscape and help to maintain the forest composition by periodically removing faster growing species, such as Nothofagus pumilio (2).