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Page last updated at 14:18 GMT, Friday, 11 June 2010 15:18 UK
Rare 'dinosaur tree' flowers at Batsford Arboretum

Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis) flowers at Batsford Arboretum
The rare Wollemi Pine was planted at Batsford Arboretum in 2007

A rare tree, believed to have been extinct for two million years before its discovery in 1994, has flowered in Gloucestershire.

The Wollemi Pine was propogated by Australian botanists after its discovery and two of its off-spring were planted at Batsford Arboretum in 2007.

Today one of the pair has produced several flowers.

"At first we did not know what these purple-red growths were", said Head Gardener Matt Hall.

"They looked a bit like elongated raspberries, but as they developed and by referring to research notes relating to the original trees in Australia, it became clear that what we were seeing for the very first time were the male flowers of this primitive tree.

"[The tree] is known from fossilised remains to have existed on earth at the same time as dinosaurs."

The Wollemi Pine is bisexual (monoecious) and produces both male and female flowers (known as cones) on the same tree.

The male cones produce pollen and the female (once pollinated) produce seed.




SEE ALSO
Jurassic tree survives big chill
11 Jan 10 |  Highlands and Islands
Rare tree introduced to Scotland
12 Apr 06 |  Scotland
Tree with Jurassic roots unveiled
10 May 05 |  Sci-Tech
'Dinosaur trees' heavily guarded
02 Dec 06 |  Cornwall


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