Wollemia nobilis

Scientific name: Wollemia nobilis

Author: Jones, Hill & Allen

Common name: Wollemi Pine

Family: Araucariaceae

 

Wollemia nobilis   

Location

Gondwana Walk.


On the 18th of August 1998 the first grove of Wollemi Pines was planted in a temporary enclosure on the Gondwanan Walk section of the the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden. Together with the Hoop and Bunya Pines, which share the same plant family, these are very Australian Christmas Trees.

David Noble, a bushwalker and modern day explorer, discovered, in 1994, a small grove of this ‘new to science’ plant genus in a protected gully in the Wollemi Wilderness about 100 km from Sydney. It has been given ‘living fossil’ status and described as the most unexpected botanical find of modern times. Belonging to the ancient Araucariaceae plant family, which contains Araucaria araucana, the Monkey Puzzle conifer; the Wollemi Pine shares the tall [more than 40 m], conical, tree architecture with whorled branching and spiralled leaf arrangement.

When young and also as re-sprouting foliage from trunks, the leafy branches are held in one plane and the leaves are long and slender. Wider, stouter leaves, held somewhat erect and in four rows within an arch, reminiscent of the spine arrangement on a Stegosaurus tail, clothe the ‘mature’, cone-producing foliage. As if swarming bees with their vibrant, brown bodies had settled to protect the trunks, honey-brown tubercles form the extraordinary ‘bubbly bark’.

Mount Tomah’s Gondwana Walk showcases plants from the lands which were once included in the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana. It’s a unique opportunity to see, in a forest setting, just how well the plants of today reflect their common Gondwanan heritage. With ancestral links back to the time of the dinosaurs, the Wollemi Pine’s family, Araucariaceae, is well represented on this walk. So, share the thrill of discovery and enter, as our intrepid modern day explorer Dave Noble did, into this ancient world. Perhaps you will also see the tree’s kind guardian, Wollemia bubblebark and make a Christmas Wish.