Category: Plants

The Ancient Wollemi Pine

 

Wollemi Pine pic

Wollemi Pine
Image: wollemipine.com

Amita Vadlamudi is an IT veteran with more than 30 years of experience. Amita Vadlamudi also has a wide range of interests ranging from astronomy to the world of plants.

One of the most important discoveries in the plant world in recent times is the Wollemi Pine. In 1994, New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) officer David Noble was on a hiking trip in the Wollemi wilderness of the Blue Mountains, a forest found 150 kilometers west of Sydney, Australia. The Wollimi wilderness is the most inaccessible area in the rugged mountains. It has over 400 plunging canyons.

As he hiked along, Noble noticed a group of unfamiliar-looking trees thriving in a deep rainforest canyon. The trees had barks resembling bubbles of chocolate and were up to 38 meters in height. He gathered some leafage and had them examined at NPWS and the Royal Botanical Gardens Sydney.

What Noble discovered was eventually called Wollemia nobilis (or Wollomi Pine), belonging to an ancient family of trees. In the world of botany, it was the equivalent of finding a living dinosaur. The tree was prevalent in the southern hemisphere forests for over 100 million years. Around 2 million years ago, dramatic climate change caused their demise.

It was astonishing how a very small number of the pines were found relatively close to a major city. A project was launched in the mid 2000s to commercially propagate and sell the pines to ensure their survival.

The Impact of Botany and Tissue Culture on Plants

Interested in the topics of history and culture, Amita Vadlamudi also enjoys exploring the environment. Amita Vadlamudi likes learning about land formations, marine biology, and botany.

The study of plants, botany offers a better understanding of how changing environments impact natural ecosystems and crop production. Factors, like pollution, are evaluated by botanists to determine necessary reforms that contribute to land and environmental preservation. Additionally, the field of botany is vital to enhancing the future of plant pathology, biotechnology, forestry, and horticulture.

In terms of tissue culture, botanists have the capability to create full-grown plants from a single cell. This is a benefit to dying plant species, such as the American chestnut. Once found in abundance in Eastern forests, the hardwood tree is disappearing at an alarming rate due to a disease-producing fungus. However, it has the potential to make a comeback after scientists successfully grew the plant in a tissue culture. This achievement spurred research into creating a blight-resistant strain of the tree that can later be planted in forests without concern of its livelihood in the face of the disease-producing fungi.