DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Wollemi pine (Wollemia nobilis) growing in The National Rhododendron Gardens, Olinda, Australia. The approximately 10m tall tree has characteristic drooping branches. In the wild it can attain 40m. It was known only as a fossil until its discovery in 1994 in Wollemi National Park, New South Wales, by David Noble; hence its latin name. Fossils of the tree have been dated at 200 million years Before Present. It is a coniferous member of the Araucariaceae, bears male and female cones at the tips of the simple branches, and is wind-pollinated. After the cones mature, the branch may die and be replaced by new growth from buds along the trunk. Trees at the NSW site are estimated to be between 500 and 1000 years old. The tree is listed as critically endangered in the wild by the IUCN, but has been widely introduced into cultivation due to its elegant appearance.
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