Prehistoric pine and platypus

In the Australian National Botanic Gardens the other day, I was stopped in my tracks by the sight of the cage that protects the young Wollemi Pine tree:

cage

I remember when the news broke of its discovery in the depths of a rainforest gorge in the huge Wollemi National Park, just northwest of Sydney. A rare story of species discovery, rather than extinction! And a species that is old, old, old – prehistoric. That was about the extent of my knowledge recall.

This was my first encounter with a real live Wollemi Pine. The cage is odd. But it also adds to its appeal. And you can peer through and see the tree, gloriously alive and flourishing:

This is what the Gardens tells you on the spot:

I was inspired to find out more. Did you know…

  • each tree is bisexual, having both male and female seed cones – I guess this is a male one:
  • it sheds whole branches, rather than individual leaves, and
  • it is being exhibited alongside a platypus at World Expo 2005 in Japan.

See the Wollemi Pine website for information, inspiration and… a demo of clever marketing.

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