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   Issue 1 of Wollemi Watch
>> Saving the Wollemi
Pine from Extinction
>> Behind the Scenes:
Cathy Offord
>> Wollemi Pine
Conservation Club - FAQs
>> How to Recognise
a Certified Pine
>> Readers Poll
Buy a Wollemi Pine and help to
preserve this wonderful species
for future generations
Did you know?
The Wollemi Pine will be available for sale in 2005/6. This date has been set to allow sufficient time for horticulturalists and scientists to research and cultivate the plant so as to secure the ongoing survival and conservation of this rare and threatened species.

As the 2005/6 public release of the Wollemi Pine in Australia and internationally is expected to generate widespread demand, we encourage all potential buyers to register their interest by subscribing to the Wollemi Pine Conservation Club.

As a subscriber, you will receive Wollemi Watch - a quarterly e-newsletter covering the latest product information and research findings on the Wollemi Pine. Closer to the release date of 2005/6, we will also provide you with details on how you will be able to purchase your own Wollemi Pine.
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Welcome to the first edition of Wollemi Watch, a quarterly online newsletter for Wollemi Pine enthusiasts the world over.

The name "Wollemi Watch" reflects the aboriginal meaning of the word Wollemi which translates to "watch out, look around you" and is also descriptive of the rugged wilderness of the Wollemi National Park where the Wollemi Pine was discovered.

The Wollemi Watch newsletter will keep you up-to-date with the latest information and research findings on the Wollemi Pine as well as detail how you will be able to purchase your own Wollemi Pine closer to the release date of 2005/6.

Wollemi Pine

Saving the Wollemi Pine from Extinction

Since the discovery of the Wollemi Pine in 1994, conservationists, horticulturalists and ecologists have been busy putting measures in place to protect the rare and threatened wild population of Wollemi Pines near Sydney's Blue Mountains

The Wollemi Pine is protected by the New South Wales (NSW) Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. It is listed as endangered at a national level under the Environmental Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and is on the directory of Rare or Threatened Australian Plants (RoTAP). As of December 2000, the Wollemi National Park (where the Wollemi Pines are located) was added to the World Heritage list as part of The Greater Blue Mountains Area.

In addition to these legislative safeguards, a dedicated Recovery Plan was developed by the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service and the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust Sydney to protect the wild population and ensure the ongoing survival of the species. Specific recommendations of the Recovery Plan include maintaining secrecy around the exact location of the wild Wollemi Pines, monitoring the sites to guard against unwanted visits, and developing a program to cultivate and release the Wollemi Pines worldwide.

Due to past incidences where the natural environments of rare and threatened species have been disturbed and harmed by unauthorised visits, a key strategy of the Wollemi Pine Recovery Plan is to encourage members of the public to purchase their own Wollemi Pine.

"Having a Wollemi Pine in homes and gardens allows everyone to help conserve this unique endangered species. The worldwide availability of the Wollemi Pine in 2005/6 will also act as a deterrent to those tempted to visit the fragile wild population," said Dr Cathy Offord, Royal Botanical Gardens Sydney.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust Sydney have issued a statement on protecting the Wollemi Pine which explains why people should not attempt to visit the wild population and how unauthorised visits could harm the ancient Jurassic Trees - see below.

However, you can view the Wollemi Pine prior to its worldwide release in a variety of locations in Australia:

  • Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney (NSW)
  • Mount Annan Botanic Garden (south west Sydney, NSW)
  • Mount Tomah Botanic Garden (Blue Mountains, NSW)
  • Taronga Park Zoo (Sydney, NSW)
  • Adelaide Botanic Garden North Terrace (Adelaide, SA)
  • Mount Lofty Botanical Garden (Crafers, SA)
  • Australian National Botanic Gardens (Canberra, ACT)
  • Royal Tasmanian Botanic Gardens (Hobart, Tasmania)
  • Kings Park and Botanic Garden (West Perth, WA)

Find out more about how to purchase a Wollemi Pine when they become available in 2005/6

Read the Wollemi Pine Recovery Plan

Take a virtual tour to the wild Wollemi Pine population

Cathy Offord

Behind the Scenes with Cathy Offord

Dr Cathy Offord PhD is a Research Scientist, specialising in conservation and horticultural research at Mount Annan Botanic Garden in Sydney. Cathy has worked with the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney for 14 years and has been involved in the research of the Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis) since its discovery in 1994.

Cathy's specific role is to oversee conservation and horticulture research on the Wollemi Pine at Mount Annan Botanic Garden. This involves growing seedlings from the natural population in a controlled environment, and researching the biological aspects of its growth in the wild. Findings from Cathy's research have been incorporated into the Wollemi Pine Recovery Plan, a document which outlines the steps required to conserve and protect the ancient plant species.

"It was very significant that we'd discovered a plant living so close to Australia's largest city that is botanically unique, so large, and something that scientists dream about - a link back to Australia's prehistoric past. We are taking the conservation of the Wollemi Pine very seriously and are working towards its ongoing survival in the wild as well as its success in cultivation," said Cathy.

Cathy and her team have also researched the basic horticultural requirements for the Wollemi Pine and have passed on this knowledge to assist Wollemi Australia in the commercial propagation. Wollemi Australia, a joint venture between the Queensland Department of Primary Industries Forestry and Birkdale Nursery, is responsible for the propagation and worldwide release of the Wollemi Pine in 2005/06.

In addition to her passion for the Wollemi Pine, Cathy has been a champion in researching Australian native plants. She began with favourites such as the New South Wales floral emblem, the Waratah (Telopea) and other protected species such as the Flannel flower (Actinotus helianthi), conducting horticultural research and development into cut flower and pot plant varieties for the floriculture and nursery industry.

Cathy is a regular guest on Australian television programs such as Quantum, Gardening Australia, Totally Wild and Burke's Backyard. She is a member of the Australian and the International Society for Horticultural Science, as well as being a nationally accredited plant breeder (PBR).

Stay tuned to hear more about people like Cathy who are working to conserve and protect the Wollemi Pine for current and future generations to enjoy.

Wollemi Pine in cage

Wollemi Pine Conservation Club - FAQs

The discovery of the Wollemi Pine has attracted the attention and imagination of enthusiasts worldwide. There is a constant flow of enquiries about various aspects of the Wollemi Pine and growing numbers are signing up to the Wollemi Pine Conservation Club.
Here are just a few of the recent enquiries:

I came across the Wollemi Pine a long time ago in the Katoomba Cinema. I live in Tinonee (320km north of Sydney) and have some acres, which I'd love to use to grow the Wollemi Pine. Although I saw the 2005/6 figure on your site. I'd like to inquire, if there is any chance to get it earlier?
Home Gardener, Australia

Thank you for your interest in the Wollemi Pine. Unfortunately 2005/6 is the earliest that we can release the Wollemi Pine. This date has been set to allow sufficient time for comprehensive research and development into the best propagation methods and to build up sufficient quantities of Pines for release to the community. This work will enable the ongoing survival of the species and ensure its success in homes, gardens and parks worldwide.

Please could you give me any information about the Wollemi Pine's survival in the UK environment. When will the Wollemi Pine seeds be likely to be on the market for public sale. Any information will be greatly appreciated.
Home Gardener, UK

The Wollemi Pine will be released for sale in 2005/6. However, we will only have plants available and not seed. As seeds from the wild population are few as well as difficult and dangerous to collect (collection poses the threat of damage to the trees), propagation is being conducted vegetatively from young plants grown from the original seeds and cuttings from the Wollemi Pines in the wild. No trees in cultivation (they are now up to seven years old) have produced seed yet so it is difficult to know when seed would be available. Regarding temperatures the Pine will withstand, we are confident that it will survive in temperatures from -5 to 45°C.

I recently discovered that a second population of Wollemi Pines had been discovered, and I was wondering what the degree of genetic variance was from the first discovered population: was there much difference at all, and how will it affect the propagation program?
Scientist, Australia

Thank you for your interest in the Wollemi Pine. Even after discovering the second stand, research has not yet revealed genetic variation within or between the Wollemi Pine populations. In fact, there is very low genetic variation within the whole family of Araucariaceae. Scientists believe that it may be possible for the Wollemi Pine to have exceptionally low variability and yet survive the ravages of bush fires, the ice age, dinosaurs, and the movement of continents. The propagation program is going well and the Pines are set for release in 2005/2006.

I have been fascinated by Wollemia nobilis since its discovery was made public in the mid 1990's. As a botany student I am more than eager to get hold of a specimen which I read on your site will be available in 2005. Is there a list for people waiting to purchase a Wollemi Pine? What sort of system will be used when they are released to the public?
Biology Student, Australia

There is no waiting list for people wanting to buy the Wollemi Pine. However, we have developed the Wollemi Pine Conservation Club as a way to encourage people to register their interest and receive quarterly email newsletters on the progress of the Wollemi Pine leading up to the launch.

See more frequently asked questions

Joining the Wollemi Pine Conservation Club registers your interest in purchasing a Wollemi Pine when they are released in 2005/6.

Wollemi Pine logo

How to Recognise a "Certified" Wollemi Pine

Royalties from the sale of the Wollemi Pine will be invested in the ongoing research and conservation of the Wollemi Pine and other rare and threatened species. It is therefore important to recognise the official "certified" Wollemi Pine symbol and look for it when purchasing a Wollemi Pine in 2005/6. Only by buying a "certified" Wollemi Pine can you be assured that you are assisting to fund conservation efforts to ensure the ongoing survival of the Wollemi Pine.

The symbol (pictured left) was designed to signify the Wollemi Pine coming back from a fossil to a living species. In fact the Wollemi Pine has been dubbed a living fossil as it was thought that it had been extinct for millions of years until the living plants were discovered in 1994.

Kanangra Walls

Please complete our readers poll to tell us what other Wollemi Pine items would interest you.

Q. I would be interested in items such as:

Wollemi Pine books and educational material e.g. a children's book

Other suggestions

Want to experience the Wollemi Wilderness? Download your own Wollemi wallpaper >> Click Here

Send us your comments info@wollemipine.com

Photos: Jaime Plaza (Botanic Gardens Trust) and Blue Mountains Tourism
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