We have one specimen of an iconic Australian evergreen growing at Keppel Croft, a Wollemi Pine. Bill was delighted to be able to buy a small Wollemi pine while visiting UBC about ten years ago.
To the great credit of the Australians, clones of the Wollemi pines have been made available around the world. Our pine spends the gardening season near the evergreen rockery. Come and read about the amazing history of this plant!
Wollemi pines are our connection with the dinosaur age, found only as fossils until 1994 when a stand of less than 100 living trees were discovered in the Blue Mountains in Australia.
The location is kept secret but Government agencies grow more pines from seeds and tissue culture. The sale of these clones helps support the maintenance and security of the original stand and supports research. All the plants contain the same DNA – there is no diversity.
We have kept our Wollemi pine planted in a large plastic tree pot. In the winter we store the pine in the greenhouse behind the workshop.
At times the temperature in there is hovering around zero. Wollemi pines are hardy to -5’C and can withstand +40’C in the summer. Wollemi pines prefer acidic soil but will still flourish in alkaline soils. Mature trees may be older than 1000 years and grow up to 30 metres tall.
This pine is a conifer, belonging to the family Araucariaceae, along with Monkey Puzzle Trees, the Norfolk Pine and the New Zealand Kauri.
The new growth each year is a soft apple green. Growth on the same branches from previous years gradually turns blue green when mature. It is very easy to identify the yearly spurts of growth on the pine.
Read more about the Wollemi Pine.
Watch to learn about the pines in their secret location.