No room in my yard for one of these giants (Araucaria bidwilli), but look what I got from the tree across the street ;) I am always surprised to see people park their cars on the footpath under this tree. This cone weighs over 5 kilos, and is not the largest I’ve seen.
This is the first cone I’ve gathered that wasn’t already starting to crack open. Either the ground was too soft to crack the cone, or it was a premature fall caused by the wild bit of wind we had had the night before.
Gus thought it smelled edible and nibbled on the very prickly thing for a while before giving up. I will not be so easily deterred as I love the kernels and my freezer stash is nearly gone. Edible roasted, boiled or even sprouted, the kernel is more starchy than oily, like a chestnut. The inner shell around the kernel is a real bear to get off when boiled, but roasting ones can explode out of their shells. The kernel can be eaten as is, or chopped/ground to make many delicious things, like Bunya fritters. They are also quite nice when added, shell on, to the water cooking a piece of corned meat.
Bunyas tend toward heavy and light cropping years, and this year is a heavy one from what I am told. When there is a glut there will be roadside stands selling the cones or kernels. I’ve put out the word to a friend who will be driving in an area with a lot of these trees to buy me a few kilos.
I used to have a Bunya I grew from a seed as my potted Christmas tree, but after a few years I tired of having to wear leather gloves and gauntlets to decorate the prickly thing.
1) The giant across the street
2) Viewed from the front yard, the Bunya is the tree in the middle.
3) Gus and the Bunya cone. For scale, the dog is 44 cm at the shoulder.
5) Completely ‘disassembled’. The shell covering the individual nuts is thin and tough, but not brittle. Easy enough to cut them in halves, but removing a nut whole is not something I am interested in doing more than once.