Wollemia

Wollemia nobilis

''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.

In both botanical and popular literature the tree has been almost universally referred to as the Wollemi pine, although it is not a true pine nor a member of the pine family , but, rather, is related to ''Agathis'' and ''Araucaria'' in the family Araucariaceae. The oldest fossil of the Wollemi tree has been dated to 200 million years ago.

The Wollemi pine is classified as critically endangered on the IUCN's Red List, and is legally protected in Australia.
A Recovery Plan has been drawn up, outlining strategies for the management of this fragile population; the overall objective is to ensure that this species remains viable in the long term.
Wollemi pine - Wollemia nobilis Male cone. Australia,Geotagged,Summer,Wollemia,Wollemia nobilis

Appearance

''Wollemia nobilis'' is an evergreen tree reaching 25–40 m tall. The bark is very distinctive, dark brown and knobbly, quoted as resembling Coco Pops breakfast cereal. The tree coppices readily, and most specimens are multiple-trunked or appear as clumps of trunks thought to derive from old coppice growth, with some consisting of up to 100 stems of differing sizes. The branching is unusual in that nearly all the side branches never have further branching. After a few years, each branch either terminates in a cone or ceases growth. After this, or when the cone becomes mature, the branch dies. New branches then arise from dormant buds on the main trunk. Rarely, a side branch will turn erect and develop into a secondary trunk, which then bears a new set of side branches.

The leaves are flat linear, 3–8 cm long and 2–5 mm broad. They are arranged spirally on the shoot but twisted at the base to appear in two or four flattened ranks. As the leaves mature, they develop from bright lime-green to a more yellowish-green. The seed cones are green, 6–12 cm long and 5–10 cm in diameter, and mature about 18–20 months after wind pollination. They disintegrate at maturity to release the seeds which are small and brown, thin and papery with a wing around the edge to aid wind-dispersal. The male cones are slender conic, 5–11 cm long and 1–2 cm broad and reddish-brown in colour and are lower on the tree than the seed cones. Seedlings appear to be slow-growing and mature trees are extremely long-lived; some of the older individuals today are estimated to be between 500 and 1,000 years old.

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Status: Critically endangered
EX EW CR EN VU NT LC
Taxonomy
KingdomPlantae
DivisionPinophyta
ClassPinopsida
OrderPinales
FamilyAraucariaceae
GenusWollemia
SpeciesW. nobilis
Photographed in
Australia