Araucaria bidwillii
bunya bunya

Araucariaceae (araucaria family)
Bunya bunya at Kingscote Gardens. Sairus Patel, 14 Sep 2017

Aremarkable round-topped conifer, similar in look to the monkey puzzle tree and more common in cultivation, has small triangular leaves and enormous green cones resembling, and at least as large as, pineapples. The great 2-inch long nuts are edible, preferably roasted.

Fallen cones are hard to find at Stanford. In the second week of September 2017, however, about eight were found near the specimen at Kingscote Gardens (in apparent celebration of the building’s reopening that week after extensive renovation), some split apart with the seeds gouged out and others still intact and green, being merrily kicked about on the walkway in front of the building by students cutting through, presumably after having rolled down the gentle incline of the lawn.

Fallen female cones of bunya bunya at Kingscote Gardens. Sairus Patel, 14 Sep 2017

The tree exudes transparent resin, sometimes in the shape of icicles.

Two are in Dohrmann Grove along Serra Mall, and one is at Kingscote Gardens, as mentioned. A skyline specimen is at the Buck Estate. There are two at 811 Hamilton Avenue, Palo Alto, and two more in the median strip on Trinity Drive near Whitney in Menlo Park. Three old giants are next to the water tower at Holbrook-Palmer Park in Atherton.

Name derivation: Araucaria – Araucani Indians of central Chile; bidwillii – J. C. Bidwill (1815–1853), Australian plant collector.

Bunya bunya leaves at Kingscote Gardens. John Rawlings, 2003

About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005. Kingscote cones note added Sep 2017 (SP).