Re: Australian pines (more off-topic)

Adolf Ceska (
Sat, 31 Dec 1994 01:27:56 -0800 (PST)

On Fri, 30 Dec 1994, Michael.Chamberland wrote:

> I have heard a few tantalizing news snippets about a stand of
> primitive gymnosperms discovered very recently in Australia.
> Unfortunately, local news sources have assumed this topic lacks
> sufficient news-worthiness to get any further coverage beyond the
> above mention.
> Does anyone have additional info on this?
> Michael

This is a posting from the BEN (Botanical Electronic News)


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 moun-
tainous 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 Gar-
dens, 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.

[See the good article on it in the Thursday, 15 Dec. New York
Times. Only 39 individuals (23 adults, some are large trees).
Illustrations show trunk, distichous "fernlike" foliage, and

Another recent exciting news was that Gilbert's Potoroo
(Potorous gilberti) was rediscovered in Western Australia. A
zoology Ph.D. student trapped one at Two Peoples Bay on WA's
south coast. They haven't been seen for over 100 years and were
thought long extinct. Two Peoples Bay is where the Noisy Scrub-
bird was rediscovered in the 1960s again after being thought
extinct. Gilbert's Potoroo is a relative of the Long-Nosed
Potoroo (Potorous tridactylus) which still exists in reasonable
numbers in eastern Australia. (Potoroos are small kangaroo-like
marsupials). Andrew Taylor
(BEN # 86 28-December-1994)

Best regards and all the best in 1995 !

Adolf Ceska