Every 3 years close to the end of January, around Australia Day, our beautiful bunya pine Ms. Majestic will faithfully start dropping her huge cones. We often hear the “thump!” while doing our chores around the farm – it is scary!
After a lot of love we have given to her through the last few seasons – assorted manures, composts, organic matters etc, she decided to give us extra love back. This year her cones are fat and plump, with more kernels per cone than the previous harvests.
When we moved to the farm many years ago, I stumbled on this magnificent creature and fell in love with her. Here are some info crunching after various readings from the Internet.
- Bunya trees are native to south-east Queensland (Looks like south-east Queensland is “a land of promise”, my other favourite tree Macadamia is also native from there).
- It is said the life span of Bunya is 500 years.
- She matures at 25 years old.
- She can grow to 30-45 m high and the record height of a live one is over 50 metres – according to Wikipedia.
- She fruits every 3 years.
- I have read somewhere the record of heaviest cone is 18 kg. It was from its home state Queensland.
- It is bush tucker for Aboriginal people, who may bury the unshelled nuts in the wet clay to preserve them.
How to eat the nuts? See my video below. I usually do my lazy way, boiling 20 minutes then eat it without any dressing as my breakfast. Boss John likes to put some butter to flavour it up. But of course whatever inspirations you may have, go for it. Some updated information here, thanks to my mate Phe’s experiment. Oven baked nuts, 175 degree 45 mins. The freshly roasted nuts taste a bit like chestnut, easy to shell, yum!
A few years back I ventured to make it into a desert, followed a recipe of chestnut pie, replaced the chestnut with boiled bunya nuts, (see pictures below)
When the first time I learned the tree might live to 500 years, believe or not, tears started rolling down my face. I stood at the foot of the beautiful giant immersing in enormous admirations, “Dear Majestic, I promise I will come back to see you every 100 years!”