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'It's like pineapple bombs are falling from the sky.' | Sacramento woman abhors 'painful' tree in her yard

The Bunya pine tree is a rare tree for Northern California. Currently, there are only 12 in the greater Sacramento region.
Credit: ABC10
Homeowner Cynthia Moore has a tree that drops "pineapple-like bombs" every three years.

SACRAMENTO, California — Cynthia Moore bought her home in south Sacramento eight years ago. 

When she bought it, she had no idea it came with a tree that she would grow to hate.

"It is such an evil tree," Moore said. "They didn't disclose this to me."

In Moore's backyard, there is a Bunya pine tree growing, which is so rare for the area that there are only two in Sacramento. The other tree stands near the corner of 10th and N Streets next to the California State Capitol building.

The Bunya pine tree is found naturally in Queensland, Australia, and Grace Nunez, Sacramento Urban Forestry's spokesperson, confirmed in an email that the tree is uncommon for Sacramento and that there are at least 12 of the Bunya trees in the greater Sacramento region, including Moore's.

The pine tree has sharp leaves, and giant pointed pine cones that can drop from 100 feet up, Moore said. Each of the cones can weigh between 10 and 15 pounds, according to California Polytechnic State University.

"It has leaves as sharp as razors," Moore said. "It's like pineapple bombs are falling from the sky."

Moore said this tree is a literal pain causing her to wear gloves, shoes and a hard hat nearly every time she walks in her yard.

Since the tree can live for up to 500 years, Moore said it would be unfortunate to cut it down. Plus, cutting down a tree like a Bunya pine would be a taxing operation for her.

"It would probably cost thousands of dollars to remove it," Moore said. "I loath the idea of cutting down something that could live to be 500."

The only solace Moore has found with having the tree in her backyard is she learned something new. Before she had to experience the Bunya pine, she had no idea it existed and how people in Australia celebrate it.

Traditionally in Australia, there has been a celebration of the bounty that comes from the Bunya pine, which can yield roughly 100 nuts in each pine cone according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. In recent years, Barung Landcare has put on Bunya Dreaming that celebrates Australian Aboriginal culture of the Queensland, Australia area as well as the nuts that come from the bunya tree.

"I have done a lot of research about this tree; I had to find a silver lining somewhere," Moore said.

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