One of the world’s oldest and rarest trees was recently planted in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.
The Wollemi pine is a living fossil from the dinosaur age, only recently discovered in New South Wales, Australia. Fewer than 100 mature specimens are still alive in the wild.
This is the very first Wollemi pine to be planted in New Zealand and a wonderful way to mark the 150th Anniversary of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.
In 1994, park ranger David Noble stumbled across some ancient-looking pines growing in a remote canyon in the rainforests of the Blue Mountains, New South Wales. Until his remarkable find, this tree was thought to have been extinct for millions of years.
Living seedlings of Wollemi pine cannot be imported because of the risk of introducing diseases that could spread to other plants. The Christchurch Botanic Gardens’ Wollemi pine was grown by tissue culture under licence at Ambrosia Nursery near Christchurch, after getting approval from the Environmental Protection Authority and iwi.
The Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney originally gifted former Christchurch Botanic Gardens Curator David Given with a Wollemi Pine. The late David Given was highly regarded internationally for his role in the conservation of New Zealand native plants.
The planting also launches the Gondwana Garden, named after the ancient, vast southern landmass. The garden is located near the Children’s Playground.