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Wollemi Pine

Wollemia nobilis

Wollemi Pine
• Wollemi National Park
• Classification
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• Mt Tomah Botanic Garden
• Royal Botanic Gardens Syd

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Wollemi Pine • Wollemia nobilis

Wollemi Pine, Wollemia nobilis, Family: Araucariaceae - south eastern Australia, Wollemi National Park. A monotypic genus of the southern hemisphere, conifer family which includes the genera Araucaria and Agathis.

Wollemi Pine display at Mount Tomah Botanic Garden.

Hailed as one of the botanical finds of the century, there stands a group of ancient pine trees located 150 km north-west of Sydney, in the Wollemi National Park. These trees, called the Wollemi Pines, belonged to a new genus of plants previously known only in fossils that date back some 150 million years, to the age of dinosaurs.

The Wollemi National Park contains the largest wilderness in New South Wales. Erosion and weathering of the sandstone over the millions of years, have created in the park hundreds of remote gorges, some only a few metres wide and hundreds of metres deep. It is in one of these gorges whilst on a bushwalk, in August 1994 that David Noble, a National Parks and Wildlife Service officer, found the Pines growing on a ledge, in a sheltered rainforest gully.

The Wollemi Pine is a conifer that grows up to 35 m high and with a trunk diameter of more than one metre. It’s leaves are bright lime green when young and turn to a yellow-green as the leaves mature. The bark of the Wollemi Pine has a look much like bubbling chocolate. This is very different to the bark of other species in the same family Araucariaceae. The Wollemi Pine, like its relatives, is bisexual with both male and female reproductive cones on the same tree. The male and female cones grown on separate braches at the tips, with the male cones always below the female cones, on older stems.

Why have they survived? It is believed that the gorge in which they grow, is well protected from fire and the climate in the gorge is similar to that of 60 million years ago, when the Wollemi Pine flourished. With only 38 known adult trees established in two groves, the National Parks and Wildlife Service has developed a Species Recovery Plan, that includes minimising the visits to the Pines and guarding them against natural disaster such as fire, trampling by human feet, diseases and harvesting by collectors.

The Royal Botanic Gardens are currently studying and propagating the Wollemi Pine to ensure their survival. A collection of plants are being grown form seeds and cuttings at the Mount Annan Botanic Garden. It has already been discovered that the Pine contains the anti-cancer chemical taxol, previously associated mainly with the Yew trees from the Northern Hemisphere.

Some plants are on show at the Royal Botanic Gardens Mount Tomah, Mount Annan and Sydney.

Source: National Parks and Wildlife Service

Wollemi Pine, growing well in protected enclosure at Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney.

Closeup of the Wollemi Pine, Mount Annan

Young Wollemi Pine, growing in another protected enclosure at Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney

Information Centre RoyalBotanic Gardens Sydney
Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Araucariaceae
Genus: Wollemia
Species: W. nobilis
Binomial name: Wollemia nobilis

Wollemi Pine • Other links

Wollemi Pine at Mount Annan Botanic Garden - approximately 4 metres in height.
Wollemi Pine at
Mount Annan Botanic Garden - approximately 4 metres in height.
Dave Noble’s Homepage - from the Internet Archive
• The person who discovered the living Wollemi Pines.

Gregg Kelly’s IDX Home Page
• Email • Wollemi National Park Photos.

Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust
• Email (Web enquiries) • Search site using the phrase Wollemi Pine.

The Wollemi Pine
• Ph: +61 2 9516 4780 • Email
• Wollemi Pine International, a subsidiary of Wollemi Australia, whose mission is to conserve the Wollemi Pine for future generations and to raise awareness of conservation internationally. Check out the website for information on the conservation club and newsletter.

The Wollemi Pine (living fossil)
• Email • By Geoffrey Dean.

Eden Project
• By Examples of the Wollemi Pine can be found growing at the Eden Project in Cornwall, UK.

 
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