Dating of events from tree growth and wood structure

21-Sep-2017 08:54

They were named Wollemi pine (is the sole living member of its genus.This rare conifer was thought to be extinct: its last fossil record was dated about two million years ago.Wollemi pines are now being propagated from both seeds and through tissue culture, and are already being cultivated in a few botanical gardens on the Pacific Coast.Time will tell if this intriguing conifer enters the commercial trade, following in the horticultural path of maidenhair tree ()—both considered to be living fossils.Because of this strong coppicing habit, tree-ring dating will never reveal the actual age of an old tree.

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In November 2005, wild Wollemi pines were discovered infected with a root rot fungus (); this fungus is the cause of avocado root rot, the scourge of avocado growers in San Diego County.When compared with pollen from living Wollemi pines, there was a perfect match.Records from paleobotanists now prove that Wollemi pines were common in moist forests on the Australian continent for countless millions of years, growing with ferns, other gymnosperms such as cycads and ginkgos, and early flowering plants.The Wollemi pine is a great botanical discovery—a “living fossil.” Dinosaur skeletons and fossils of juvenile and mature foliage of a supposedly extinct conifer have been found together throughout western Queensland in rocks dating back 120 million years.

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Foliage of the just-discovered Wollemi pines closely matches these fossils.In majestic size and beauty, araucariads rival the grander members of the pine family (Pinaceae); both families are conifers (Pinophyta).

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