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Life Cycle of the Wollemi Pine

From seed to adult tree! Explore the stages the Wollemi goes through to reach maturity.

Wollemi Pine - the life cycle 

Explore the life cycle of the Wollemi Pine below by clicking on the 'hotspots'.

Real life science at Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan 

Soon after the discovery of the Wollemi Pine, our researchers at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan began developing growing techniques to safeguard the species by establishing a collection of multiple plants. This population of plants was then made available for research, and for commercial purposes so the public could purchase their own Wollemi seedlings. 

They investigated the growth of the Wollemi Pine from the very earliest stages of seed fertilisation, through to the germination and growth requirements of these spectacular plants. They also banked seeds at the Australian PlantBank as part of the conservation strategy.  

Seed formation

Botanic Gardens scientists have tracked every moment of growth from when pollen from one Wollemi Pine meets the female cone of another. When they meet and fuse, we can watch how the seed grows and forms. This was done by taking thin sections of a seed as it formed during different stages and observing under a scanning electron microscope. 

Wollemi Pine pollen under a light microscope (A and B) and under a scanning electron microscope (C and D).  Credit: Chambers et al. (1998) 

Seed germination 

Observations in the wild and laboratory experiments show that the Wollemi Pine sheds seeds in summer and early autumn when temperatures are high. We found that Wollemia nobilis seeds germinate especially well when exposed to light, and in temperatures 24°C - 30°C.  

Seedling growth 

The average number of branches produced was 5-17 in the first year, 25-36 in the second year and 24-30 in the third year giving a total of 60-77.  

Wollemi Pine Seedling Growth Experiments under different light conditions (from left: less light, to the right: highest amount of light).  

 

Watch this video to discover more about the life cycle of the Wollemi.

 

Activities - Life Cycle of the Wollemi Pine

1. Life cycle quiz

Complete this quiz to test your knowledge of the Wollemi Pine.

2. Poetry writing

Choose either the words 'coppicing' or 'wollemi pine' and write an acrostic poem. Make sure the poem stays to the theme of the word.

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