rare plants, their data and their collections

Shelley Gage s.gage100@hotmail.com
Wed, 28 Dec 2011 02:26:17 PST

My son gave me a Wollemia nobilis as a Christmas present. Why so special?  The Wollemi Pine became known to science in 1994. I will quote from the booklet which came with it.
"Scientists believe that, as Australia dried out over millenia, the range of the Wollemi Pine shrank until the entire population had retreated to the single canyon system in Wollemi National Park. After years of subsequent searching, fewer than 100 adults have been found.
Wollemi Pine seeds and cuttings were collected from the grove so the population could be established outside the canyon, as an insurance policy against any disaster. The initial propagation was undertaken by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, until a commercial arrangement was established as Wollemi Australia[a partnership between Queensland's DPI Forestry, and a commercial Nursery]. Every Wollemi Pine sold returns a royalty to conserve the Wollemi and other threatened Australian plant species. This ensures that anyone who buys a Wollemi Pine will be playing a part in the global conservation effort."
I find this so special because for once a government body has shown common sense and entrepreneurial skill in dealing with a very rare and threatened plant. Let us hope that other special plants are treated in the same way.
Shelley Gage 
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