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Bunya Pine Tree

December 2, 2007

Bunya Pine Tree
Photo: Hugh Robertson

The prehistoric (Mesozoic 251 to 65 million years ago) Banya Pine – Araucaria bidwillii – can grow to over 45m (almost 150′) and around March they drop these huge Pine Cones… I mean really Huge, they are about the size of a person’s head (and probably have a higher IQ than some bushes). If you brake them apart you end up with about 50 or more very large pine nuts that when roasted and eaten have a very similar consistency and taste to chestnuts; only with a slight pine taste.

For the Australian aborigines they were an important and favoured seasonal food source, individual trees were protected, managed and they were often regarded the ‘property’ of individual families. I have two of these trees not 70 meters from my place and I often collect a few of the cones, extract the nuts, and roast them under my grille; the trick is to split the husk to prevent them from exploding.

These trees definitely look like prehistoric conifers, even if they weren’t, with their bizarre branches, leaves and bark you’d swear there were dinosaurs lurking near by… though I’m more nervous about one of the cones striking me from above since they must weigh close to 10 kilograms (20lbs).

Website: Bunya Feast

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