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Living fossil to Bergianska Garden in Stockholm

15.06.2007
The Bergianska Garden at Stockholm University in Sweden has received a specimen of one of the world's oldest tree species, the Wollemi pine, an Australian conifer. It was discovered as recently as 1994, and there are only some 100 specimens in the wild. The donation from Australia is part of an effort to secure the future existence of the tree.

The background to this donation is the ongoing Linnaeus Tercentenary. The discovery of the Wollemi pine is a scientific sensation. The tree is living evidence of a long lost time.

"We are obviously extremely grateful to have been given the opportunity to cultivate this extremely special tree. It will be a unique addition to our collections," says Henni Wanntorp, chief superintendent of the Bergianska Garden.

The deputy foreign minister of Australia, Greg Hunt, who had participated earlier in the week in the Swedish government's discussion on the climate agreement, personally presented the tree as a symbolic gesture to draw attention to the measures needed to counteract climate change and to protect the global stock of trees.

Facts about the Wollemi pine (Latin Wollemia nobilis):

The Wollemi belongs to the Araucariaceae family of plants, which also includes the Norfolk Island pine, for example. The bark has an unusual 'bubbly' appearance. The tree is estimated to be about 200 million years old, thereby descending from the so-called Jurassic Period, that is, before the Australian continent was formed.

The Wollemi was discovered on September 10, 1994, in an isolated valley in Wollemi National Park in New South Wales, about 150 km northwest of Sydney.

The Wollemi is an extremely rare tree that is in danger of extinction, with fewer than 100 specimens in the wild. To protect the tree, the valley where it grows wild is known to only a few individuals.

Immediately after the tree was found, intensive research got underway, and a reproductive program was launched. The tree is being cultivated both for botanical gardens and for commercial purposes.

Today it is possible to purchase small plants. The tree cannot be grown in Sweden, though it can be cultivated in greenhouses.

For pictures, please contact Stockholm University, phone: +46 (0)8-16 40 90; e-mail: press@su.se.

For facts about the Bergianska Garden (in Swedish): http://www.bergianska.se.

For more information about the Wollemi pine: www.wollemipine.com.

For further information please contact:

Henni Wanntorp, chief superintendent of the Bergianska Garden, phone: +46 (0)8-545 91 722; cell phone: +46 (0)708-370779; e-mail: henni@bergianska.se.

Maria Sandqvist | idw
Further information:
http://www.bergianska.se

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