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.