DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Wollemi pine (Wollemia nobilis) with male cones, growing in Victoria, Australia. The branches terminate in pollen-bearing cones (brown, hanging down). This is a small tree, about 10m in height. In the wild it can attain 40m. The Wollemi pine was only known 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 BP. It is not a pine, but a coniferous member of the Araucariaceae. It bears male and female cones at the tips of the simple branches, and is wind-pollinated. After the cones mature, the branch dies and is replaced by new growth from buds along the main stem. 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.
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