the Wollemi Pine


The Family
The Wollemi Pine is the only species in the third living genus (Wollemia) of the conifer family Araucariaceae. It has features in common with the other living genera Agathis and Araucaria as well as with Cretaceous and early Tertiary fossil groups such as Araucarioides.

Habitat and Growing Conditions
The Wollemi Pine grows to a height of 40 metres in its natural habitat with a trunk diameter of over one metre. However, in cultivation they are expected to reach a maximum height of 20 metres. The Pines have grown in temperatures from -5 to 45°C (23 to 113°F) and trials in the USA and Japan have indicated that it will survive temperatures as cold as -12°C (10.4 °F). They are fast growing, respond well to light and favour acid soils. The Wollemi Pines produced from seeds and cuttings from the wild population are growing rapidly and averaging about half a metre in height a year. Read more about caring for a Wollemi Pine.

Unique Characteristics
The Pine's habit of spontaneously sprouting multiple trunks from its base (known as self-coppicing) has proved a vital defense in withstanding damage through fire and other natural disasters. Another unusual characteristic of the Pine, common to the Araucaria genus, is its habit of shedding whole branches rather than individual leaves. The distinct bark which resembles bubbling chocolate is also unique to the Wollemi Pine.

Research has not yet revealed genetic variation within or between the Wollemi Pine populations. In fact, there is very low genetic variation within the whole family of Araucariaceae. Scientists believe that this may prove that it is possible to have exceptionally low variability and yet survive the ravages of bush fires, the ice age, dinosaurs, and the movement of continents.

Like its closest living relatives, the Wollemi Pine is bisexual with both female and male reproductive cones on the same tree. The male and female cones are found at the very tips of the branches, with the majority of the female cones at the top of the trees.

Special Properties
A fungus found on the leaves of some of the Wollemi Pines in the wild has been found to produce small quantities of a chemical known as taxol - an anti cancer agent. Taxol is not a byproduct of the Wollemi Pine. Previously, taxol has been found on trees in the Taxus genus (i.e.Yews). The amount of taxol found on the Wollemi Pines is too small to be used for medicinal purposes.

The aim of releasing the Wollemi Pine is to safeguard its long term survival by removing the threat of visits to the wild population. The research and development aims to ensure the availability of viable quantities for sale in 2006. Read more about how to order a Wollemi Pine.

As seeds from the wild population are difficult and dangerous to collect, and collection poses the threat of damage to the trees, propagation is being carried out vegetatively from young plants grown from the original seeds and cuttings from the Wollemi Pines in the wild. Research is also being conducted to test the viability of utilising micro propagation methods for commercial production.

Wollemi Australia has been exclusively licensed by the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney (RBGS) through NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to propagate and market the Wollemi Pine in Australia and internationally.  This agreement ensures that royalties are returned to fund the conservation of the Wollemi Pine in the wild and other endangered species. 

All Wollemi Pines grown and marketed by Wollemi Australia will be identified by their authentication certificates, labelling and packaging bearing the registered Wollemi Pine logo.  The Wollemi Pine logo will be recognisable as the official branding of the product that returns royalties to conservation. There is currently a patent pending on the Wollemi Pine to protect against unauthorised commercial propagation.


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