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Plantidote of the Day 2012-11-19

twig's picture

bunya bunya

Auracaria bidwillii

Bunya bunya, bunya pine, false monkey puzzle tree

A big, impressive tree, the bunya bunya is an Australian native that does well in mild climates. The one above, growing in a botanical garden in Zone 10, is probably 30 feet tall. Bunyas are tracked by Australia's National Register of Big Trees. The largest known diameter is 215 cm, or about 84 inches around. Height-wise, the largest recorded measures 51.5 meters, or about 170 feet tall. So they're not giant sequoias, but they're pretty big.

Bunya pines produce oversized pine cones containing edible nuts that are distributed by a critter known as the short-eared possum (Trichosurus caninus; and please click on the link, you won't be sorry!). The photograph above doesn't really do the tree justice, but there are lots more images of the trees, bark, and pine cones (unfortunately, no additional possum pics) here.


Readers, please send twig ( images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chantrelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you. Or challenge us with a "Name That Plant" mystery entry ... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the comments.

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NWLuna's picture
Submitted by NWLuna on

than drooling-at-both-ends Opossums.

I just read about possums (Australian) being different than opossums (American) in a fiber arts mag. Sadly there was no photo of the Australian critter so I am glad to see one now. Makes the idea of spinning possum fur more attractive. Hmmm. Wonder how they take to getting sheared? Or are they curry-combed? Herds of fiber animals in the bizarre!

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

That must up toward the top of the worst jobs in the world list. Although if they just play dead, maybe it wouldn't be so bad.

About the fiber arts -- do you spin? For your own consumption or for sale? I'm not just being nosy -- I knit a lot and lovelovelove handspun yarn.

athena1's picture
Submitted by athena1 on

They really are cool. I saw some in Florida a while back that took my breath away.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

athena1 -- just their size alone is overwhelming. And I do love trees. They're not as pretty as flowers, but what would we do without them?