New "living fossil" find in Australia

Ken Hill Ken_Hill at RBGSYD.GOV.AU
Thu Dec 15 10:22:43 CST 1994


     A small stand of trees that are considered to represent a third living
     genus of Araucariaceae was discovered by New South Wales National
     Parks and Wildlife officers in late 1994. This, now known as the
     "Wollemi Pine", occurs in a deep, very wet and very sheltered gorge in
     the Wollemi National Park, in a rugged mountainous area within 200 km
     north-west of Sydney in eastern Australia. With only about 20 adult
     trees in a single stand, it is one of the rarest trees in Australia.
     Of the other extant Araucariaceae, it appears closest to Agathis, but
     it has many features in common with Cretaceous and early Tertiary
     fossil groups such as Araucarioides. Staff of the Royal Botanic
     Gardens, Sydney, in conjunction with National Parks officers plan to
     describe and name the new genus and species in 1995 in the journal
     "Telopea". Studies of DNA and detailed morphology are also in progress
     at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, together with investigation of
     vegetative and tissue culture propagation. It is, however, unlikely
     that plants will become available in less than two years
     ___________________________________________________________________

     Ken Hill                                internet: ken at rbgsyd.gov.au
     Senior Botanist                           voice:     +61 2 231 8160
     National Herbarium of NSW                   fax:     +61 2 251 7231
     Royal Botanic Gardens
     Sydney NSW 2000, AUSTRALIA
     ___________________________________________________________________




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