The genus Araucaria takes its name from the Chilean region of Arauco, where the first species was discovered. Although it was discovered as early as the 16th century, it was Joseph Banks, one of the botanists who accompanied James Cook, who brought several species of araucaria to Europe. The specific epithet bidwillii is in honour of the British botanist and explorer John Carne Bidwill, first director of the Sydney Botanic Gardens. "Bunya is the Aboriginal name.
This species is native to south-east Queensland (Australia), and is considered the only non-extinct species of the Bunya section of the genus, widespread during the Mesozoic. Its seed germinates in a peculiar way, cryptogeal germination: the seed first develops a tuber from which an aerial root then emerges.
It is considered a sacred tree for aboriginal peoples, with edible seeds.