Page last updated at 13:47 GMT, Tuesday, 30 June 2009 14:47 UK

Northern grove for Jurassic tree

Wollemi Pine
An isolated Australian grove of pines was discovered in 1994

A tree which had been thought to have died out two million years ago is being grown in the north west Highlands.

The grove at Inverewe Garden is claimed to be the most northerly planting of Wollemi Pine.

Owners the National Trust for Scotland said the tree, which dates from Jurassic times, could survive for up to 1,000 years.

They were cultivated from trees found to have survived in a single isolated grove in Australia.

The discovery of the pine in 1994 caused a scientific sensation, and prompted the Australian Government to protect the site where it was growing.

Park ranger David Noble found the trees in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney.

The species was thought to have been extinct for at least two million years. The only previously known examples were fossils which were 175 million years old.

Eight Wollemi Pines have been planted at Inverewe.

Property manager Roy Dowsett said: "Inverewe is honoured to be playing such an important part in preserving this ancient species.

"The garden is famous for its exotic plants, but the Wollemi Pine is something else.

"The scale alone tells you that you are dealing with a plant that originated in the Jurassic period. Our tallest specimen stands at 7ft, but they can grow to a mighty 60 metres and live for more than 1,000 years."

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