Germination: sow 1-2" deep, tamp the soil, mulch the seed bed
Other: Seeds will initially form tubers so vertically growth will be delayed after germination. Keep pots in exposed to light.
Araucaria bidwillii, also known as the Bunya Pine or False Monkey Puzzle Tree, is a large evergreen coniferous tree native to southeast Queensland, Australia. It is characterized by its tall stature, reaching heights of up to 30-45 meters. The tree produces fruit that resemble pineapples and is known for its unique germination process, where the seed develops underground before emerging as an aerial shoot. The seed of the Bunya Pine can be eaten raw, cooked, or ground into a powder, and is described as starchy and delicious with a flavor similar to chestnuts. It is also sometimes grown as a pot plant in colder regions.
The Bunya Pine is the last surviving species of its genus, Araucaria, and has cultural significance to the indigenous people of Australia. The tree was a vital food source for them, with the nuts being consumed raw, cooked, or made into a paste. Additionally, the tree's bark was used as kindling. The Bunya Pine played a significant role in Aboriginal gatherings and festivals, where different tribes would come together to feast on the kernels of the tree. Today, the Bunya Pine is protected in formal reserves and national parks due to historical exploitation for its timber and habitat destruction.
The distribution of Araucaria bidwillii is limited within Australia, mainly due to the drying out of the continent and poor seed dispersal. The tree is found in south-east Queensland and has two small disjunct populations in the wet tropics region of northern Queensland. Despite its limited distribution, planted specimens can be found in other parts of Australia. The Bunya Pine has ecological importance as well, as its large cones provide food for large birds and other animals. The species has also faced challenges in silviculture due to its irregular germination process.
In conclusion, Araucaria bidwillii, or the Bunya Pine, is a unique and culturally significant tree native to Australia. It is known for its tall stature, delicious edible seeds, and role in Aboriginal gatherings. Despite its limited distribution, the tree is protected and valued for its ecological and cultural importance.