Wollemi pine, Wollemia nobilis
Until 1994, the Wollemi pine was known only from fossils. From the time of the dinosaurs, the species survived undiscovered in its own island – an inaccessible canyon in Wollemi National Park, Australia. David Noble, a park ranger, spotted the conifer’s fern-like leaves and unusual bubbly bark. Australian botanists quickly recognised it as a new genus.
Conservationists from the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney and the National Parks Service collected cuttings and seeds and began to cultivate the species. Its natural habitat is kept secret to prevent visitors disturbing its pristine environment, trampling seedlings or unwittingly introducing pests and diseases.
By commercially propagating Wollemi pine, it can be made widely available to gardeners. Working with Australian partners, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is helping with the introduction of Wollemi pine to the UK. Royalties from sales of Wollemi pines will help fund the trees’ conservation in the wild.
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