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Wollemi Pine Conservation Program

It’s rare, it’s endangered, it’s strange looking, and at first we didn’t know all that much about it. We have learnt so much about this unique and ancient plant over more than twenty years of research. However, there’s still a great deal to learn about the Wollemi Pine, not least to ensure its survival.

‘Dinosaur tree’ or ‘living fossil’, the Wollemi Pine is certainly one of the greatest botanical discoveries of our time.

In September 1994, modern day explorer David Noble, an officer with the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, discovered some trees he didn’t quite recognise. In a deep, narrow canyon of the rugged Wollemi National Park, he discovered what we now call Wollemia nobilis or the Wollemi Pine.

The dramatic discovery of an evolutionary line thought to be long extinct is even more remarkable with these tall and striking trees growing in a largely undisturbed wilderness area only 150 km from Sydney, the largest city in Australia. 

How marvellous and exciting that we should have discovered this rare survivor from such an ancient past
Sir David Attenborough
The discovery of the Wollemi Pine is the equivalent of finding a small dinosaur still alive on earth
Professor Carrick Chambers
The Wollemi Pine is a unique reminder that the world is full of undiscovered wonders, that there is a lot more to know about our planet, and a lot to protect
Professor Tim Entwisle

These pages were compiled by staff and students of the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, primarily Patricia Meagher, Cathy Offord and Heidi Zimmer, with editing by Hannah McPherson and Amelia Martyn Yenson.