Updated: Apr 6
The 1994 discovery of Wollemi pine, Known as Wollemia nobilis is one of the greatest botanical discoveries in modern day. Finding what is essentially a living a fossil belonging to a 200-million-year-old family in present day is in my opinion one of the greatest rewards we as a species could receive for devoting so much time to science and history, and it has been a pleasure to have been able to work alongside these rare specimens for a time.
Considering Wollemia is indeed an endangered species, there has been much debate on how to preserve said species. Propagation is a full proof way to ensure the numbers of a species can improve, and Wollemia, like its cousins can be propagated through seed or cuttings. Nevertheless, seed harvesting is a dangerous and expensive methodology for overall preservation, and not especially commercially viable. Not to mention the variability amongst seedlings could make it counterintuitive for conservation purposes. Cuttings, whereby a part of the plant is removed and then grown into a clone of the plant has been seen as the solution to preservation and enlarging population size.
Overall consensuses show success through vegetative propagation by way of stem and tip cuttings. Although some sources suggest there could be viability to the use of micropropagation in the future, and some forums have shown evidence of success with air propagation methods. However, these newer methods lack the historical success shown through traditional conifer propagation techniques – which seem highly compatible with Wollemia and their cousins.
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