Bunya bunya cones

I guess there must be bloggers out there who struggle to find something to write about. I am not one of them 🙂  I have a mental list a mile long that I intend to write. But then things just pop up and I want to let you know about it. Well, to be truthful, I want to write about it, and I just hope that you want to know! Today was one of those times.

I have a regular Thursday painting time in the Botanical Gardens, up near the Shrine. I parked, put money in the meter, went to pick up the key to the room and …..oops,  I forgotten that it wasn’t on today. So I had some “free time”. I had paid for the parking space. Can’t waste that $4. Off I went for a walk into the glorious Botanic Gardens. (I must add The Botanic Gardens to my I-must-blog-about-this-list.)

First I found this lovely fern garden in the Kings Domain, just outside the gate to the gardens.

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014)

Then I came across something that piqued my interest.

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)

The gate was closed because gardeners were doing tree work, on the very large bunya bunya pines. These are native to Queensland and grow tall and straight.

Tall trees...... (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)

Tall trees……
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)

....with thick trunks  (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)

….with thick trunks
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, they have enormous pine cones, which need to be removed. If they were to fall on someone’s head…….

This is the size of the cone

The pine cone, with my car keys to give scale. (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)

The pine cone, with my car keys to give scale.
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)

You can see how solid they are!  (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)

You can see how solid they are!
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t know how many were on the tree, but there must have been a lot, because these are the ones the gardeners have picked up. And the chap was still up in the tree, cutting away at cones.

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The nuts are quite edible — or so I am told! These ones were not ripe, but you can see how many nuts there would be tucked into the creases of the cone. Aborigines would celebrate the ripening of the nuts with feasts and gatherings.

Wikkipedia has this to say about Aboriginal tribes in the Bunya Mountains:

As the fruit ripened, locals, who were bound by custodial obligations and rights, sent out messengers to invite people from hundreds of kilometres to meet at specific sites. The meetings involved ceremonies, dispute settlements and fights, marriage arrangements and the trading of goods.

Indigenous people had a number of uses for the nuts, again from Wikipedia

Indigenous people eat the nut of the bunya tree both raw and cooked (roasted, and in more recent times boiled), and also in its immature form. Traditionally, the nuts were additionally ground and made into a paste, which was eaten directly or cooked in hot coals to make bread. The nuts were also stored in the mud of running creeks, and eaten in a fermented state. This was considered a delicacy.

The cones I saw came from one tree. Imagine how many there would be to eat and share in the natural habitat!

Sorry, I can’t offer you a taste of the nuts. You will have to be content with some photos of a lovely end-of-summer border.

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)

 

 

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About anne54

Botanic artist
This entry was posted in Melbourne, Plants and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Bunya bunya cones

  1. metan says:

    Ouch! No wonder they are removing them before plummeting season starts…. 😀

    Years ago we camped under a massive (normal) pine tree (allocated space, not by choice) and a high altitude pine cone smacked pointy end down onto the roof of the camper. Fortunately it just missed the skylight the Man was standing under because the dent it left in the plastic roof made us believe it would have smashed right through that lightweight plastic! Imagine a cone the size of one of these guys falling on the roof of the caravan… 😦

    Like

  2. Jo Britt says:

    I might plant one of those!

    Like

  3. acflory says:

    Really enjoyed this post, Anne. I’ve always been fascinated with bush tucker, and now, thanks to you I have new information I would never have known about on my own. The photos were great too. 🙂

    Like

    • anne54 says:

      Bush tucker is a really interesting area. So many non-indigenous Australians have died of hunger in the bush, with food just there. We just don’t know. There is a restaurant in Gertrude St that not only cooks with bush tucker but employs and trains young indigenous people. I will go eat there sometime soon, I hope!

      Like

      • acflory says:

        I haven’t been to Gertrude St in years, literally. I’ve driven through a few times as it can be a nice shortcut into the city, but I haven’t stopped and looked since I lived in a student house in Napier St 30 years ago.

        If that restaurant is still there when we’re rich and famous let’s both go!

        Like

  4. Wow! Those are amazing. I didn’t know any of this! Thanks, Anne.

    Like

  5. Pingback: More bunya bunya pines | Anne Lawson

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