Araucaria bidwillii, also known as the Bunya Pine, is a large evergreen tree native to southeastern Queensland in Australia. It belongs to the ancient and primitive family Araucariaceae, which has a lineage that dates back to the Jurassic period.
The Bunya Pine can grow up to 45 meters (147 feet) in height and has a distinctive dome-shaped canopy. Its leaves are needle-like, about 3-8 cm (1.2-3.1 inches) long, and arranged in whorls around the branches. The cones produced by the Bunya Pine are one of its most recognizable features. They are large, heavy, and can weigh up to 10 kilograms (22 pounds) when fully mature.
The cones of the Bunya Pine have cultural significance to the Aboriginal people of Australia, who traditionally held Bunya festivals when the cones were in season. The festivals brought together different tribes to share in the harvest of the cones and celebrate with music, dance, and feasting.
Today, the Bunya Pine is often grown as an ornamental tree in parks and gardens, both in Australia and other parts of the world. It is also cultivated for its edible seeds, which are similar in taste to chestnuts and can be roasted, boiled, or ground into flour.
However, the Bunya Pine is listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as past over-harvesting of the cones for their edible seeds. Conservation efforts are underway to protect remaining populations of the tree and promote its sustainable use.