DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Wollemi pine (Wollemia nobilis) with branches terminating in cones. The female cones (centre and right) are spiny and spherical; a male cone (brown, pendulous) is visible below centre to left. This is a small garden-grown tree, about 10m in height. In the wild it can attain 40m. The Wollemi pine was known only as a fossil until discovered 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 not a pine, but a coniferous member of the Araucariaceae. It bears both male and female cones, as here, and is wind-pollinated. After the cones mature, the branch may die and be 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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