2013

 
 

Here is a subtropical conifer which resembles a cross between a Sago palm and a Norfolk Island pine (to which it is related), but it is hardy to at least 23°F or colder. In the wild, it reaches a height of more than 130 feet, yet it makes a fabulous indoor and patio plant because it doesn't become root-bound and does well in low light situations. The beautiful, pendulous foliage with bright green tips is also evergreen making the plant interesting year-round. And yet, the most notable feature of this plant has nothing to do with any of its appealing characteristics. What makes this tree stand out from all other trees in the world is that it was only discovered in 1994, and was the botanical find of the 20th century— and the equivalent of finding a dinosaur alive and kicking. This plant had only been known from fossil records of the Jurassic period, more than 200 million years ago, and assumed extinct for 2,000 millennia. This is the Wollemi pine, or Wollemia nobilis, the only member of Wollemia, now the third living genus in the araucaria family (Araucariaceae) which includes the Monkey Puzzle tree and the Norfolk Island pine.

And, it is actually available for sale and one source for this plant is on the Wollemi pine's website, www.wollemipine.com. Not surprisingly, it is quite expensive, but one would have to assume that the price of exclusivity on this level would be steep. Exclusivity aside however, the Australians have done a remarkable job not only of saving this species in its native habitat, but also in spreading this rare find around the globe, and thereby ensuring its continued existence.

 

Wollemi pine

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