Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Wollemi Pine research - seed germination 

Wollemia nobilis W.G.Jones, K.D.Hill & J.M.Allen is represented in the wild by less than 100 adult trees, therefore understanding the requirements for seed germination is important for the conservation of this monotypic Australian conifer.  Constant-temperature experiments found that seed germination proceeded most rapidly at temperatures between 24°C and 30°C. Few seeds germinated when incubated for 112 days at 10°C and 16°C but later germinated when transferred to 24°C, whereas seeds initially incubated at 35°C were killed.  Unstratified seeds showed a pattern of prolonged germination taking 130 days to achieve 40% germination at 24°C and 40 days at 27°C. Seeds stratified at 6°C for 14 days and incubated at 27°C in the light achieved 40% germination within 20 days while those incubated at 10°C and 16°C for 112 days and transferred to 24°C achieved 40% germination by 15 and 24 days respectively.  Initial germination of unstratified seeds was fastest when incubated at 30°C in the light, averaging 23 days.

Exposure to 12 h diurnal periods of 10-15 µmol m-2 s-1 light significantly increased 28-day incubation germination percentages, but only those incubated at 30°C. Additions of gibberellic acid (GA3) at 1mM had no effect on seed germination of W. nobilis. The field observations and laboratory experiments indicate that following seed shed in summer and early autumn when temperatures are high, W. nobilis seeds germinate, especially if exposed to light.  The seeds that remain ungerminated or that are shed late in the season survive over winter, but germinate rapidly once temperatures rise in the next spring.

Abstract from Effects of temperature, light and stratification on seed germination of Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis Araucariaceae), by C.A. Offord and P.F. Meagher. Australian Journal of Botany 49: 699-704 (2001).

Researchers

Dr Cathy Offord & Patricia Meagher (Australian Botanic Garden)

Carolyn Porter (Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust)

Wollemi Pine seeds
Wollemi Pine seeds on average are 11 mm long and 8.5 mm wide and 1.5 mm thick.

Germination experiments
Seed germination experiments were conducted to establish optimum germinating conditions for Wollemi Pine seeds.