Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Roar like a dinosaur!


I've been reading a wonderful book, "The Wollemi pine: the incredible discovery of a living fossil from the age of the dinosaurs" by James Woodford (Text Publishing, new ed. 2005), which I picked up a few months ago from the Botanical Gardens in the city. The book reminds me of a political thriller or a whodunnit, only it's real and the blithely ignorant star of the book is a grove of trees which forgot to go extinct. Amazing stuff.

The trees were only discovered in 1994, in the almost-inaccessible wilderness of the Wollemi region of New South Wales, it was the botanical analog to the discovery of a living coelacanth (a primitive fish, previously only seen in fossils) in the waters off Cape Town, South Africa, in 1938.

I think the discovery of the Wollemi pines has even more indelible for me, in that the big press announcements were made on my birthday, 14th December, of 1994. Nothing like having one's birthday swept off the news radar by the discovery of a tree that had survived since the Cretaceous Period!

Ever since, there has been a concerted effort to propagate Wollemi pines and they've been on public sale for some time now. I'm determined to buy myself one of these amazing plants, onesdayrealsoonIhope - and how ironic if I don't care for it properly and it goes extinct on me? - but this vacation gave me a chance for us to pretend we were in a whole rainforest of Wollemi pines at Greengold Heritage Nursery in Yarralumla.


At Greengold Heritage Nursery, Yarralumla.

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