Araucaria bidwillii

Second-last in the prehistoric plant series written by Alexis:

Damon Tighe (Damon Tighe@Flickr) shares this photo from Lake Merritt, Oakland, California via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool. Thank you, Damon!

Also known as bunya pine, Araucaria bidwillii is part of a genus that dates back to the Jurassic period. In the Mesozoic era, species of Araucariaceae could be found in both hemispheres, “dominating the low latitudinal belt of summer-dry climates and living in mixed conifer communities in the middle latitudes” (Thomas and Spicer’s The Evolution and Palaeobiology of Land Plants (1987)). Today, the range of the family is smaller, mostly restricted to the southern hemisphere. As one example, Araucaria bidwillii only occurs naturally in Queensland, Australia. In the fossil record, Araucaria bidwillii is present mainly in the form of seed cones (PDF).

In the wild, this species grows in rainforests on basaltic soils where it is often found with Araucaria cunninghamii.

A distinctive (and potentially dangerous, should you be under the tree) feature of Araucaria bidwillii is its female cones, which can be 30cm in length and weigh 10kg! For Aboriginals of Queensland, bunya seeds were a highly valued food source. The wood of this species is strong and straight-grained, and so is a desirable source of timber.

Araucaria bidwillii

5 responses to “Araucaria bidwillii”

  1. christiane Gioppo

    Here in the south of Brazil, we have lots of this type of tree. The genus is the same araucaria but the most common specie is angustifolia.
    The three is the state simbol of Parana and it is everywhere in the city from the street/ neighbourhood names to the pedestrian pavements.

  2. Meg

    Thanks again for this series. I soaked up all the information as best I could. Really appreciate this effort.

  3. elizabeth poletti

    Is this tree also called a Monkey Tree. I grew up on a ranch in Napa, California and there was a 100 year old tree similar to this one with huge cones on it that we feared would fall on our heads.

  4. Ron B

    Here people are referring to monkey puzzle (Araucaria araucana) when saying “monkey tree”.

  5. elizabeth a airhart

    the calm quiet strength of a tree
    showing anyone near
    all the secrets of time
    the calm quiet strength of a tree
    splitt and jonson
    fine series in the year of the forests
    thank you daniel and company

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