Friday, July 19, 2013

The Bunya nut

Today when up the coast from Brisbane I visited a Nursery at Forest Glen that is part of a large Organic venture... with Foodstore and Cafe.

Its was good to see Bush Tucker featured in this Garden Centre and a variety of native Plants and other interesting features.

The Bunya Pine is an indigenous plant and food source that was celebrated by the traditional owners of this region.

Bunya pine with Bunya nuts shown at the base of the pot

The Bunya pine or Aurucaria bidwillii : from Wiki

Araucaria bidwillii, the bunya pine, is a large evergreen coniferous tree in the plant family Araucariaceae. It is found naturally in south-east Queensland Australia and two small disjunct populations in north eastern Queensland's World Heritage listed Wet Tropics. There are many fine old planted specimens in New South Wales, and around the Perth, Western Australia metropolitan area. They can grow up to 30–45 m.
The Bunya Pine is the last surviving species of the Section Bunya of the genus Araucaria. This section was diverse and widespread during the Mesozoic with some species having cone morphology similar to A. bidwillii, which appeared during theJurassicFossils of Section Bunya are found in South America and Europe. The scientific name honours the botanist John Carne Bidwill, who sent the first specimens to Sir William Hooker in 1843.[1]

They are a curious tree with cones that are extremely heavy and therefore dangerous when they fall.

image from  here

Found here

Ive not read this book (above) so can't recommend it personally but have read this book below and was fascinated by the telling of this man's life and his unusually close relationship with local indigenous people around Brisbane from the time he was a young boy.

File:Tom Petrie's reminiscences of early Queensland.djvu
from here

bunya cones and nuts

This image above comes from the Slow Food Australia website and details the inclusion of this food in the Ark of Taste for Australia.

Except from Slow Food website listing:

Ark of Taste, Australia
Queensland bunya nut
THE bunya nut was a traditional food of the Australian aboriginal people in a limited area of rainforests, predominantly in south-eastern Queensland, and especially in part of the Great Dividing Range now known as the Bunya Mountains national park. The nut resembles a chestnut and is equally tasty, maturing in summer. Hostilities were suspended as Aborigines travelled long distances to feast on the nuts. Their native habitat was mostly cleared, but some early white farmers planted bunya pines for household use. There is renewed interest in bunya nuts among the Australian Aboriginal and settler population. In 2002 a Bunya symposium was held at Queensland’s Griffith University. The large population increase in south-eastern Queensland during the next 20 years is likely to reduce the number of bunya pines.

Ive tasted this nut and found it quite interesting and would definitely like to cook with it and try various suggested approaches. 

It was inspiring to see it at this nursery today and I hope many plant this species if they have access to a large area away from people traffic and houses!


Valerianna said...

That IS a sizeable cone!

Sophie Munns said...

Sure is... i wont be planting this tree in my small backyard anytime soon Valerianna!

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