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Wollemi Pine

The now famous Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis) was first discovered in the Wollemi National Park (New South Wales, Australia) in August 1994 when David Noble, a Parks & Wildlife Project Officer noticed an unusual piece of tree branch floating in a creek in the deep gorge in which he was travelling.

When he looked up to examine where the branch had come from, he saw a tall tree unlike anything else he had ever seen. A branch of the unusual tree was taken back to Senior Naturalist, Wyn Jones of the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service, who initially believed the specimen to be of a fern, however when he was informed that it came from a 35-metre tree, his curiosity was aroused.
Wollemi Pine
Wollemia nobilis leaf detail. Photo by "Amortize", used under a Creative Commons licence.
After several months of investigation and research, it was found that the pine was in a completely new genus and would need to be classified. It was determined that the pine was a member of the Araucariaceae (kauri pines family).

It was eventually named Wollemia nobilis after its discoverer, David Noble.

The Wollemi Pine is a Southern Conifer which reaches 35 metres in height, with a trunk diameter of around 1 metre.

The highly dissected leaves range in colour from a pale green when young, to a deeper green at maturity, and the trunk is covered in knobbly spongy bark. The trees are dioecious, which means that there are male and female cones on the one plant. All cones are terminal, with the male cones growing lower down on the tree. The seeds are dark brown and winged.

There are 23 mature and 16 juvenile trees growing in two stands located close to each other. It is thought that this is all that remains of Wollemia nobilis. This tree has been called a "living fossil" because of its close resemblance and relatedness to other fossilised trees that date back to the Cretaceous and Tertiary of 100 million years ago.
Wollemia nobilis
Wollemia nobilis. Photo by Marinus van Opzeeland, used under a Creative Commons licence.
The Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney has been propagating this tree, which is available for sale from various stockists.
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