Common name(s): Bunya-Bunya, False Monkey Puzzle Tree
Scientific name: Araucaria bidwillii
Plant family: Araucariaceae
Origin: Queensland, Australia
Description: Tall, evergreen tree, 80 -100 feet tall and as much as 20 – 30 feet spread. Shape is dome like. Heavy branching with thick scale like spiny leaves. Produces male and female cones. Females produce extremely large cones with many seeds valued as food.
Growing Conditions: Best grown in full sun, soil variable, needs some organic matter and well drained soil. They are drought tolerant and moderately salt tolerant. It may take 10 plus years before a tree is ready to produce fruit. Fruit round and looks like round pineapple with a weight as much as 20 pounds.
Wildlife: As with any fallen fruit on the ground small rodents will take advantage of a source of food. This is one method of seed dispersal.
Relation to Nehrling Gardens:
Location in Gardens: Zone 1 and Zone 3.
Additional Information: This tree belongs to a group called conifers. They make male and female cones. No flowers. They represent a family that appeared at the same time of the dinosaurs and considered today as a “living plant fossil.” At one time the distribution of this family was found in the northern and southern hemisphere. Today the family is distributed from Chile, Australia, Norfolk Island and Malaysia. The family name is derived from the Arauco region in Chile. In historical times, different Australian Aborigine tribes had their own forest sites where they collected the large fruit of the Bunya-Bunya. This was a time of family gatherings, feasting and strengthening cultural bonds. The fruit is high in carbohydrates, fats and protein. Ideal food source. The lumber used to make canoes, musical instruments and shelter. The Bunya-Bunya is an ideal tree to use in large properties, gardens with plenty of space. It is spectacular for its size and shape.
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