These pines are some of the world's oldest and rarest trees. The evolutionary line was thought to be extinct, discovered in 1994 by David Noble, an officer with the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service in the Wollemi National Park here in Australia. The grouping was discovered in a deep, narrow canyon.
This was a fascinating and very exciting find. Since there are so few specimens in the wild, a thorough management strategy has been developed to protect them and they were afforded extra protection during last summer's horrendous wild fires. Having Wollemi pines in homes, gardens and parks worldwide is safeguarding the species from becoming extinct and decreases the threat of unauthorised visits to the wild population - young specimens have been available for the public to purchase from our botanic gardens since April 2006.
Closest relatives are Kauri and Norfolk Island, Hoop, Bunya Bunya and Monkey Puzzle pines.
''Wollemia'' is a genus of coniferous tree in the family Araucariaceae. ''Wollemia'' was only known through fossil records until the Australian species ''Wollemia nobilis'' was discovered in 1994 in a temperate rainforest wilderness area of the Wollemi National Park in New South Wales, in a remote series of narrow, steep-sided sandstone gorges 150 km north-west of Sydney. The genus is named for the National Park.