Bunya pines are ancient, delicious and possibly deadly

phys.org | 5/23/2018 | Staff
Caris (Posted by) Level 3
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The Bunya pine is a unique and majestic Australian tree – my favourite tree, in fact. Sometimes simply called Bunya or the Bunya Bunya, I love its pleasingly symmetrical dome shape.

Can you grow it?

Bunya - Pines - Name - Aracauria - Bidwilli

Bunya pines (botanical name: Aracauria bidwilli) are living fossils. They come come from a fascinating family of flora, the Araucariaceae, which grew across the world in the Jurassic period. Many of its "cousins" are extinct. The remaining members of the family are spread across the former landmasses of Gondwana, particularly South America, New Zealand, Malaysia and New Caledonia, as well as Australia.

This family includes one of the most amazing botanical discoveries of the 20th century, the Wollemi pine (Wollemia nobilis).

Bunyas - Today - Wild - Locations - Southeast

Bunyas used to be much more widespread than they are now. Today they grow in the wild in only a few locations in southeast and north Queensland. One such area, the Bunya Mountains, is the remains of an old shield volcano – about 30 million years old, with peaks rising to more than 1,100 metres. The Bunya pines grow in fertile basalt soils in this cool and moist mountain environment.

If you want to grow a Bunya, I would suggest that you need a large garden. The tree needs fertile and well-drained soil, and regular watering in drier climates. A shaded position will also help – it can struggle in direct sunlight in its youth.

Bunyas - Timber - Instruments - Tonewood - Instruments

Bunyas also produce highly valued timber, which is used for musical instruments. It is particularly valued as "tonewood" for producing stringed instruments' sound boards. Saw logs for Bunyas come from plantations only, as they are protected in their national park wild habitat.

Stand well back!

People - Bunya - Pines - Love - Affair

While many people love Bunya pines, this love affair comes with a health warning. They are best regarded with both distance and respect!

The trees are big and typically range from 20m to...
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