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I think I have found the right place to ask my questions about bunya nut trees. araucaria bidwillii aka. Bunya Bunya

Question

1) What is the proper nut collection method?

2) What is the proper preparation for eating the nut?

3) Is the tree sap used for anything like glue, food, poison?

4) What are the spiritual attributes already given unto this tree.

I have found it hard to find information on this common species, as to it's traditional uses.

I have taste tested the sap and found it O.K. Swallowed some and never felt sick!

I found the nuts tasted better cooked than raw.

Any one else!

Please note: I am Aboriginal and vow to hold any traditional secrets, safe.

Private message me if not sure who to trust. Any info welcomed :shroomer:

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All I know is that the Bunya ranges (Blackall range) where the last decent stand of Bunya's grow was the tri-annual meeting place for the Aboriginal people from around south-east QLD & that they only fruit once every 3 years (the reason the meeting as tri-annual). I have eaten bunya's since I was tiny & the only way I know of collecting the nuts is to wait till the huge cone drops to the ground by itself, then the cone will need to be dry before easy access to the nuts is possible. I used to use a flat rock & a good sized rock to crack the shell if I wanted to eat them raw or just throw a heap in a fire & stand back because they explode when cooked. They are powdery when raw & taste similar to raw potato when cooked. I am white so I cannot help with the spiritual significance of the trees.

Edited by Leaves
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That is pretty much it it was more a reason for tribes to gather - a social time and celebration of nature plentiful supply.

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In a magazine I once viewed called "People of the World" printed 1918 had on the inside cover a declaration/law by the Govenor of NSW in 1901, Stating that NO Bunya trees were to be cut down because they were an important staple for the Native People and to cut them down would be seen as un neighbourly and warrant arrest.

What happened?

It is like they targeted this species from then on, as the evidence is in the very small number of mature trees still alive today.

What were they trying to destroy, really. :crux:

And why can we ignore such important laws without consequence.

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I found a book on my travels to the Bunya mountains..

"Bonyi Bonyi by Ray Humphrys." ISBN 0959175024

A foot note on the title page says "Note:Bonyi Bonyi was the name given to the Bunya nuts by the Aborigines of the Brisbane area."


(I assume this would be the Kabi Kabi)

These are some answers that I extracted from this book;

1) What is the proper nut collection method?

"The Bunya nuts were gathered by the proprietor tribe and presented to guests who were not allowed to climb trees or take Bunyas for themselves"

"The dense forests of the coastal ranges were in the territory of the Kabi Kabi, while those on the Bunya mountains to the west were owned by the Wakka Wakka."

"The Yarow Weir people, a sub tribe of the Wakka were based on cattle creek country on the Western side of the Bunyas.. 'Yarow Weir' means "He gives""

"On the Southern side of the Bunyas lived the D'Jamela people, who were very friendly with the Waccas. In fact their leader, Mowbullan, had married a Wacca woman.

The two tribes often met on the mountains at Mt. Mowbullan where there was a bora ring."

A reference to a book "Tom Petrie's reminisences by Constance Petrie. 1837" which can be found online;

https://archive.org/stream/cu31924063745495#page/n21/mode/2up

gave the following extract; (so I guess this is an extract of an extract!)

"a black fello who accompanied them , who belonged to the district climbed up the tree by means of a vine. When a native wishes to climb a tree that has no lower branches he cuts notches or steps into the trunk as he goes up,ascending with the help of a vine held around the stem. But my fathers experience experience has been that the blacks would never injure a tree, and they climbed with vine alone, the rough surface of the tree helping them."

"When the climbing native could reach a cone he pulled one(!) and opened it with a tomahawk to see if it was alright."

2) What is the proper preparation for eating the nut?

"Their tissue is like that of a potatoe. When the seed is young, it is juicy and soft and is eaten entire and raw. As it matures the embryo assumes a more definite form and is rejected; the surrounding tissue, at the same time becomes dryer and less palatable. When mature, the seed is preferred roasted. Before being roasted, each seed is partially bruised with a stone. When it has been in the fire for a minute or two it gives a crack, the signal that it is cooked."

"They sometimes pounded the seed into a kind of meal, which they called nyangu."

3) Is the tree sap used for anything like glue, food, poison?

Fresh tree sap is sticky, and malleable. Ive played with this stuff before.

Over time it will harden as the moisture content decreases. A short heating over hot coals will solidify it quickly.

I assume it would have been used to attach spearheads.

4) What are the spiritual attributes already given unto this tree.

Though not relating specificly to the Bunya tree there was this story;

"At one time a Wakka tribe was moving along through a valley of the Bunyas. The women were scattered, gathering as they went. One old woman had fallen back behind the others, perhaps gathering some tasty morsel and unconscious of passing time. Darkness came and she was lost. She called many times but there was no answer as the others had gone, perhaps crossing to another valley, not missing her at first. They never saw her again.

In the years that followed, whenever they were in that valley just on evening, they could hear her calling, ever calling, but never finding them. They believed, though she was gone, her troubled spirit remained."


I still have a few more leads to follow, I will add anything else when I come across it.

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It is my understanding that visitors to the Bunya Mountains are not supposed/permitted to take the nuts as it will reduce the availability of seeds to produce new trees. I am not sure how this relates to people of aboriginal decent. Also I remember reading that during the tri- or bi-annual bunya nut feasts animals were not to be killed or eaten, and that people from as far away as Bundaberg would walk to the Bunya mountains for the feasts.

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I think most people get their seeds from Bunya pines growing around local areas that were planted by locals or the ones growing at camping grounds that have no chance of growing, lots of Bunya's fruiting around the Sunshine coast right now. If you do collect some its a good idea to sprout some.

Edited by Leaves
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They are easy to harvest, cook and grow, just give it a go and you should have no probs.

We usually boil them with their shells still on and then sometimes fry them in the wok to brown the edge. They don't explode like this because they split a little at the end during the boiling.

If you want to just BBQ them straight up, or cook them in/under the coals, then slightly crack the tip with a rock so they don't explode.

I like to use 2 pairs of pliers to strip the shells off once cooked.

To germinate them, fill a styro box with well composted mulch and bury the fresh seeds about 5 cm deep. They do a strange thing as seedlings where they only half germinate, and finish germinating a few months later, just google it.

Oh and keep 'em moist :)

If you DO want them to explode then just pop 'em straight in the microwave on high LOL

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I have sprouted many Bunya Bunya in my "secret mix" and they shot their root within 3 days. The secret lies in pulling smoke through water, I also added a touch of fulvic acid and seaweed and then soak seed overnight. Some shot within 1 day but all by day 3. Also works well for other natives that require fire for germination.

Many still growing on strong at Stanmore, QLD, in decomposed granite, but rather stunted when compared to creek flat grown trees.

1 even bonsai' ed.

I think most people get their seeds from Bunya pines growing around local areas that were planted by locals or the ones growing at camping grounds that have no chance of growing, lots of Bunya's fruiting around the Sunshine coast right now. If you do collect some its a good idea to sprout some.

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There are a heap of them growing 'wild' at Kondalilla falls NP on the Sunny coast. Thought to have been originally brought there by Aborigines.

Up in PNG they have a similar nut (Karuka) that they cook, dry and hang in string bags high-up inside their huts where they get smoked daily. They last more than a year like this and can be used as a valuable commodity. They are also called 'Panda-nuts'. (Pandanus julianettii and Pandanus brosimos)

You could do Bunya nuts like this for sure.

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Wikipedia has more info today than 2 years ago, so some tips I found on Wikipedia:-

The nuts were also stored in the mud of running creeks, and eaten in a fermented state. This was considered a delicacy.

The nut is considered nutritious, with a unique flavour similar to starchy potato and chestnut.

The nutritional content of the bunya nut is: 40% water, 40% complex carbohydrates, 9% protein, 2% fat, 0.2% potassium, 0.06% magnesium.

It is also gluten free, making bunya nut flour a substitute for people with gluten intolerance.

Related to the sacred Monkey Puzzle Tree which can live for 1000 years.Araucaria araucana

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I have also collected Bunya cones/nuts for a few years now, my kids think there great. I usually boil them & sometimes fry them in butter.

I find they germinate very easily & have never needed to put them in smoked water, that seems like extra work & does not need to be done. If I collect to many cones a lot of them germinate before I get a chance to eat them.

If anyone wants some nuts I have plenty of fresh cones sitting here at the moment.

Cheers

Jox

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Secateurs work well for getting the shell off - it's loose enough around the nut that you can get the "hook" of the secateurs inside and just snip them lengthways.

I've usually just eaten them boiled or roasted in the shell with some butter and salt, but I was given some shortbread that had been made with ground bunyas and it was pretty excellent. I've also heard of a people making a "bush foods" dukkah from them, which I think would be spectacular - never tried drying them though. I've read that they freeze well, but have never had enough to put this to the test.

I've heard that the trees were often removed - especially from public places - because a falling bunya cone can be fatal. ARGHH!! Killer trees! Don't know how true that story is though, there still seem to be a few around in parks.

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That is good to know they freeze well Anodyne, I will have to try it.

There is a lot of big trees were I live, the council has put up signs in the parks were the trees for years now but this year they have gone as far as to put signs out the front of peoples house who have bunya pines in there yards.

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strangely, i thought they tasted a bit like baked beans...

there is an old homestead turned popular wedding venue near me that i walk past almost every day. truth be told, i'm always a little wary walking past it - especially after a huge branch (from a different tree altogether, a gum) crashed down behind me a year or two ago. i noticed a smashed pine on pavement just today. Do they always drop their cones this time of year?

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i also found a newly dropped cone by the side of the road at a nearby tree this week, it was definitely immature, but not small.. hadn't been unusually windy or anything, i have no idea really but it's been a fucking dry year in most of nsw & south eastern australia this summer, the driest january in over a decade & almost half way through feb it still hasn't let up. it seems logical they might drop immature cones during dry summers to conserve energy & water..

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^^^

Maybe wasn't pollinated? A friend has a mature tree on an isolated property which has never produced nut-bearing cones, think they decided it was too far from other bunyas, poor lonely thing.

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not in this case i don't think. there is close to 10 sexually mature trees here & the segments had definite developing nuts inside. i have looked at un-pollinated cones on a tree near my place & from what i've seen it seems the nuts don't really develop at all but are just an empty sack.

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it's weird to think aboriginals climbed all the way up them. they're seriously sharp!

work crews often remove the nuts using an EWP, for public safety.

on the topic of pointy old living fossils, last i heard of the wollemi pine they were cloning/testing every individual tree to keep the genetic variations intact. turns out that every specimen from the three known locations is genetically indistinguishable.

Edited by ThunderIdeal

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I read that they only produce bumper crops every three years & from watching the trees around my place for many years now this seems to be the case.

They produce cones every year but seem to have only a few cones & they don't seem to develop as well. This year I also notice cockatoos chewing off the hole cones & letting them fall to the ground, this could be a reason people find fallen half ripened cones.

Cheers

Jox

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they're characters aren't they?

funny-cockatoo-jail-prison-break.jpg

Edited by ThunderIdeal
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There f#*king crazy characters! I love em.

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Black cockies, red, yellow & gang gangs are all awesome.. Hate to be racist BUT! Though they are still interesting characters, Sulphur crested white cockatoo's can be a major pain in the arse. Can't blame them really but I liken them to a large band of pillaging vikings.. Every year they maraud my pecans & destroy so many citrus fruits just to eat the mature seeds.. They'll pillage just about anything they can get their beaks into.. This is a major focus into the future, trying to find diverse tree crops that cockatoos aren't interested in. It seems almost whatever the cockies don't eat the bower birds will.. This is all part of living where I do though so its only a superficial annoyance really & an interesting challenge in planning viable long term perennial crops..

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^^LOL, that sums up sulphur crested cockatoo's perfectly! My mums started to feed them seed in her yard a few years ago, after a few weeks there were 60+ birds turning up, on the third week of visiting they decided to eat here out door furniture :o!! They also pillage my bosses pecan & citrus trees, shit maybe your my boss paradox!!LOL.

Cheers

Jox

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