Bunya-bunya at the San Francisco Botanical Garden
Bunya-bunya is native to Southern Queensland and northern New South Wales in Australia. It is a striking tree in its way, with branches arranged around the trunk in whorls. They are bare except for a dense tuft of small secondary branches at their tips, which bear narrowly triangular, stiff, pointy leaves.
Bunya-bunya grows slowly, and may live 300 to 500 years. It is pyramidal when young, achieving a domed crown when mature, and can grow to 145 feet.
Ovoid-subglobose seed cones can be 12 inches long and weigh up to 22 pounds! They take near two years to mature. Pollen cones are narrow, cylindrical, up to eight inches.
The nutritious and large seeds of A. bidwillii were an important food source for aboriginal peoples and are now an Australian delicacy.
Photo H. Robertson, Iziko ©
Bunya-bunya or bunya pine (Araucaria bidwillii) is native to a small area of rainforest in eastern Australia, but is planted in many California parks, botanic gardens, and even as a street tree in Berkeley.