Although critically endangered in the wild, Wollemia nobilis has had fairly good success as a garden plant thanks to a well-planned marketing program and the adaptability of the plant. Although Wollemia nobilis lives in a sub-tropical canyon, it has proven to be somewhat cold hardy and can be grown in areas with mild winters.
More Information About Wollemia
The genus Wollemia contains just a single species, Wollemia nobilis, and is related to the Norfolk Island Pine (Araucariaceae). Until 1994, Wollemia was known only in the fossil record from 200 million years ago and scientists considered the plant to be extinct. It was discovered alive and well by a sharp-eyed hiker in the Wollemi National Park in New South Wales, Australia, just over 125 miles from the country's largest city, Sydney. This type of discovery is amazing, but not unheard of. Both ginkgos and dawn redwoods were also known first by their fossils before living specimens were discovered.
"Wollemi" is an Aboriginal word that means "look around you" or "keep your eyes open" (how apt) and the tree was named for the park in which it was found. The species epithet "nobilis" commemorates the plant's discoverer, David Noble, an avid hiker and plantsman who was hiking in Wollemi National Park and came across the grove of pine trees in a hidden canyon.
Wollemia nobilis will eventually grow to over 120' tall and its bark will take on the puffy appearance of Coco Puffs cereal. The needles are similar to a Sequoia tree. You can do your part to keep Wollemia nobilis alive for another 200 million years by buying one today.