Rare and ancient pines delivered in April
By REN LANZONrlanzon@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org
IT looked like it would make a great Christmas tree, but who would want to hang tinsel on a plant that came straight from the land of the dinosaurs?
The Wollemi pine, known only as a fossil until 1994, can now be advanced ordered in Gladstone just 17 ice ages after it was thought to be extinct.
Gardenlovers Garden Centre has been selected to take advance orders for the rare and ancient plant and has been given three specimens at various stage of growth to show customers. At this stage it's the only gardening centre to have the tree between Townsville and Brisbane.
The Wollemi pine was discovered by modern day explorer David Noble who found the trees in an almost hidden gorge in the Wollemi National Park, about 200km west of Sydney, in 1994. A rigorous selection process was undertaken to choose the nurseries to propagate the species to save it from possible extinction.
Less than 100 trees exist in the wild today and the exact location of the trees has been kept a very tight secret. Gardenlovers owner Janice Lanyon said she felt privileged to have such an ancient tree in her nursery.
Of the three plants she has to show, two sizes are available, one in a 150mm pot and about 40cm tall and a 200mm pot and about 60cm tall. They will be priced from between $55 and $95 respectively.
However, the plants will not be available until April next year.
'Ordering will guarantee availability and offers customers a great gift idea,' she said.
Anyone who orders a Wol-lemi pine will receive an authentication certificate and a care booklet for the tree which will be delivered by April 1.
Mrs Lanyon said the tree was hardy and versatile in cultivation, able to be used indoor and out, and was easy to grow and maintain.
Royalties from the sale will be invested in conservation of the tree and other rare plant species.
The oldest known Wollemi fossil dates back 90 million years.