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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 July 2006, 09:40 GMT 10:40 UK
Jurassic plants on show to public
Wollemi Pine, courtesy of Jaime Plaza, Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney
As seen in the Jurassic age
Two specimens of a plant from Jurassic times that was thought extinct are now on display at Cambridge University Botanic Garden.

The Wollemi Pine was rediscovered deep in a gorge near Sydney, Australia, in 1994 and is now the focus of extensive research to aid its conservation.

The trees have outlived ice ages and bush fires in the isolated rainforest gorge in the Blue Mountains.

The Botanic Garden is the only place in East Anglia to display the plants.

Dr Tim Upson, Superintendent of the Botanic Garden, said: "The Wollemi is a rare and unusual addition to our collection.

"There is a good chance it will survive outdoors in Cambridge and we hope to plant an additional Wollemi this autumn, close to our other living fossil, the Dawn Redwood.

"We are proud to be helping conserve these living fossils as cultivating the Wollemi Pine here, and in gardens and parks everywhere, is the best form of insurance against irrevocable loss in the wild."

Secret location

The collection of Wollemi Pines was discovered by a park ranger, David Noble.

It was named after the Wollemi National Park, the location where the pines were first discovered in the now World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains.

Wollemi is an Aboriginal word meaning "look around you, keep your eyes open and watch out."

Due to the inaccessible nature of their secret location, some of the earliest seeds and cuttings were collected by a botanist dangling from a helicopter.




SEE ALSO
Jurassic pot plants on sale soon
25 Sep 03 |  Science/Nature
Extinction threat to ancient plant group
04 Jul 03 |  Science/Nature
'Extinct' UK bat bounces back
18 Dec 02 |  Science/Nature

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