Wollemia nobilis
Common Name: wollemi pine 
Type: Needled evergreen
Family: Araucariaceae
Native Range: New South Wales
Zone: 9 to 11
Height: 80.00 to 130.00 feet
Spread: 40.00 to 65.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest

Culture

Grow in acidic, well-drained, sandy loams with consistent moisture during the growing season. Best in part shade locations with protection from wind and afternoon sun. Propagate by seed or tip cuttings. Winter hardy to USDA Zones 9-11 (possibly Zone 8).

Noteworthy Characteristics

Wollemia nobilis, commonly called wollemi pine, is an evergreen, tree conifer in the Araucariaceae family. Notwithstanding its common name, it is not a pine nor is it a member of the pine family. This tree was only known by fossil records dating back 200 million years until 1994 when David Noble, a National Parks and Wildlife Service Officer, discovered a small grove growing in a remote area of canyons and gorges in Wollemi National Park which is located on the edge of the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, Australia. Trees at the park are limited to two separate sites in remote sandstone canyons. This is a tall tree with a slender crown. It matures over time to 80-130' tall with trunk diameter to 3'. Sometimes multiple trunks rise from the same base. Older tree trunks have bumpy surfaces. Stiff, flattened, linear adult leaves in 5-8 spiral rows are yellowish-green. Fern-like juvenile leaves are dark green with waxy undersides. Female and male cones appear on the same tree (monoecious). Female cones (to 3" long) are rounded and mature from green to brown. Narrower male cones (to 4" long) are reddish brown. Females are observed year round, but males mature in late September to release their pollen over the next few months. Small brown seeds are winged to facilitate dispersal by wind. Close relatives of this tree include Norfolk Island pine (Araucaria heterophylla) which is native to the South Pacific and monkey puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana) which is native to slopes in the Andes in Chile, Argentina and southern Brazil.

Genus name comes from the name of the park where this tree was discovered, Wollemi National Park which is located on the edge of the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, Australia.

Specific epithet honors David Noble who discovered the tree.

Wollemia is an Aboriginal word meaning "look around you".

Problems

Little genetic variability, so the few trees in existence are susceptible to possible catastrophic injury by the introduction and spread of harmful pathogens. Dieback from the pathogen Phytopthora cinnamomi was first observed in the native population in November of 2005 (perhaps caused by unauthorized foot traffic in the area).

Garden Uses

A limited number of plants are now available through retail outlets. This is an endangered tree that needs a special place. At Kew Gardens in London the tree is displayed outside the Orangery growing in an iron cage for protection.