Actually the seed of the bunya pine (or bunya-bunya), an evergreen coniferous tree. Native to Australia's states of New South Wales and Queensland, bunya pines grow to 100 to 140 feet tall. The female trees produce football-size cones containing 50 or more seeds. The almond-shaped seed or "nut" is about 1 to 1½ inches long and sheathed in a fibrous, tan shell. Bunya nuts have been an important Aboriginal food source for centuries. They have a starchy texture similar to a chestnut and a flavor reminiscent of macadamias and pine nuts. They may be eaten raw or cooked (in soups, casseroles, pies and so on) or dried and ground into flour. Bunya nuts are available fresh from January through March and frozen during the rest of the year.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.