Wollemi Pine?

greenthumbzdudeNovember 12, 2012

So I was in Sydney, Australia a few years ago and went to visit the blue mountains. Apparently they have a very rare stand of Wollemi Pine hidden somewhere in a secrete cove. Anyway I learned they are an ancient species of conifer dating back to 200 million years. Recently I found out that they are hardy to zone 7a. Anyone have one? I might give it a try in a south facing microclimate.

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pineresin

"Recently I found out that they are hardy to zone 7a"

It isn't. It is only hardy to zone 9.

Resin

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 7:05AM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

There are a number of reports of hardiness to 10F (approximate z. 7b/8a).

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 2:56PM
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blue_yew(Z9 Devon UK)

Not true its Z8 hardy anyone got a photo of the Kew
one?

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 3:35PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Short-term results in a particular location does not establish long-term hardiness there.

To be hardy in Zone 8 something has to be hardy below 10F, hardy in Zone 7 below 0F and so on. 0-10F, 10-20F etc. are the average minimum temperatures, not the coldest it gets in each zone.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 4:21PM
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sam_md

The way I understand it is that today, the Araucarians are unique to the "Antartic Flora". Could I ask someone to elaborate on the following from Wikipedia:
The araucarians achieved maximum diversity in the Jurassic & Cretaceous periods, when they were distributed almost worldwide. At the end of the Cretaceous, when dinosaurs became extinct, so too did the Araucariaceae in the northern hemisphere.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 4:55PM
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greenthumbzdude

I got the information about 7a zone from Dave's Garden.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 9:16PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

It isn't zn 7 hardy. The National Geographic Society was brazenly irresponsible to ever suggest it might be. A tree in DC sustained moderate injury after the upper single digits. A little colder and it would have died. Since such temps would occur in a bad zone 8 winter as BBoy points out, that argues for more like zn 8b or 9 as Resin said.

Besides the trees are dying on the east coast even when the cold isn't killing them. Probably from a root rot that thrives in wet, hot soil. Consider the related monkey puzzle and how many hundreds of them, probably, have died on the US East Coast over the last 100+ years. They usually die in the summer when young. A few genetic outliers have bucked this trend, probably because of a random gene mutation that confers an ability to resist such conditions. But there's no "population" of Wollemis in which to find disease resistance. There is one, sterile clone. Therefore this is only going to be a tree for maritime and moderate summer subtropical climates. Seattle to San Diego, mild parts of Western Europe including the milder coastal parts of the UK, NZ of course, much of inhabited South Africa (J'burg is not very hot in summer, nor is Durban), coastal South America, Kunming, etc.

Someone in Florida IIRC has successfully grafted it onto a more root rot resistant conifer. This might help, and it might not.

Sydney, contrary to the impression of some Americans, is not at all like Florida and is more like Cape Cod in summer and Charleston, SC in winter...without the extremes of course, being basically frost free. And the area where Wollemi was found is inland and slightly elevated, and probably has somewhat cooler nights but still no worse than zn 9b in winter.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 7:33AM
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Sara Malone Zone 9b

We have them here only in the warmest microclimates of the Bay Area. That may be coincidence, but I've only seen them in Occidental and Berkeley, on the warm side of zone 9 (Sunset 17).

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 9:14AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Specimens I've seen at Humboldt State University - home of a small but significant collection of rare species conifers, by the way - look as though the uppermost tops froze back in a recent winter.

In a sheltered position between buildings, with a small grove of coast redwoods (native there) close by. In a town that is right at the ocean, will be getting maximum exposure to its moderating influence.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 2:36PM
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salicaceae(z8b FL)

Yes, i have it grafted on Agathis robusta. It is surviving much better and looks better than on its own roots, but the jury is still out.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 10:38PM
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philinsydney1

There are some wollemi pines growing outside the Smithsonian in Washington DC. This photo is from 2009:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dctropics/4057402490/

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 5:06AM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Thanks for the update salicaceae.

I don't think I'm being too much of a smart alec to point out that Washington DC gets just a little colder than z10 Arcata California! So, I doubt absolute cold caused the problem there at HSU. Maybe there was an odd freeze following a period of mild weather...but that's nothing it might not see in its native environment in the past few millennia. Any freeze is unusual in that climate...in DC, every average day in winter freezes at night. Maybe it was heavy ganja fume damage.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 11:11AM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Btw here's an updated picture, in 2011. If they'd made it that long, they surely survived last year's winter which was the mildest in 16 years. But still the 5 winters they survived up to 2011 were mild to average, not average to cold.

These are on the south side of the "Castle" so very protected from drying winds.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dctropics/6060234275/

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 11:17AM
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JohnnieB(Washington, DC 7a/b)

Those are my photos. The Smithsonian wollemias have been in the ground for 5 or 6 years. This has been a string of very mild winters for our region, plus they are planted in the heart of the urban heat island so I doubt they have seen any temperatures much lower than the mid teens. I have no idea what their long-term prospects are but they have done well so far. Here are more recent ones from just a few weeks ago:

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 3:17PM
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blue_yew(Z9 Devon UK)

Hello Johnnieb

The two Thujopsis in that last photo look different
are they labled? could be a rare form.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 1:43PM
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JohnnieB(Washington, DC 7a/b)

Sorry, Thujopsis and most similar genera usually fly under my radar. I didn't even see those plants when I was taking this photo!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 9:32AM
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pineresin

"I got the information about 7a zone from Dave's Garden"

Wrote to them; it is corrected now

Resin

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 9:00PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

FWIW the original marketing literature from "Wollemi North America" - the company which tried to trademark the word Wollemi and then scurrilously threatened the Quail Botanical Garden for using it without "permission" - said the trees "could be grown in zone 7-11". I believe this was either repeated on the National Geographic website, or that there was a link to the defunct website for "Wollemi North America". In any case I remember a lot of people back then believed that they were hardier than they really were, both on gardenweb and on other sites, and I had to warn them they had been given false hope by the marketing scum. If you look at the price Nat. Geo was charging for what was basically a 2nd year rooted cutting, someone was making A LOT of money off these things, and I doubt most of it went to conservation.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 11:03AM
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widdringtonia(8a)

I know this is off topic for the OP, but I can't let the comment about summer temperatures in Johannesburg and Durban go unremarked upon. True, Jo'burg doesn't get *that* hot. But it'll still regularly hit low and mid 30s (celcius, obviously) in summer. Pretoria, just a little bit further north, but at considerably lower altitude gets hotter. Of course the lack of humidity in Jo'burg makes a difference too. I'll walk around in Jo'burg in mid-summer with 30+C weather unphased, when I won't even venture outdoors in Raleigh, with the same 90+F temperatures and near 100% humidity.

But to say that Durban doesn't get hot is a mistake. Durban has a true sub-tropic coastal climate. And it gets hot and humid... for most of the year. Durban doesn't even get frost, which Jo'burg does.

Jo'burg has a nearly unique climate due to its latitude and altitude. I miss the climate there.

Back to your discussion about Australian pines. :)

    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 6:06PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

USDA 7 is average lows of 0F-10F. This means that there will probably be some times when it gets below 0F in many locations so designated. Sometimes multiple degrees below 0F. To persist in these places as an evergreen tree, that does not burn up, defoliate completely or die back/down a specimen needs to be able to take such temperatures, without incident.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 1:19PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

I don't even know why I'm bothering with this triviality, but, I can't resist proving I was correct. As you say...Jo'burg doesn't get the combination of heat, humidity, and heavy rainfall that the US SE gets. It would not seem hot to someone from the SE, which is all I said. Nights in winter always average

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 5:45PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Oops I meant "nights in SUMMER" for Johannesburg.

Jo'burg is actually cooler in summer than North Carolina's mountain retreat town of Asheville.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johannesburg

    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 5:50PM
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nikkie_in_toronto

A bit off the subject, but I recently purchased one from the west coast to try in a garden in downtown Charleston, SC. It was suggested as a possibility to me on a different forum. Not a sure thing, just a possibility in that a lot of the gardens in Charleston have more protected "shady" situation and sandy/well drained soil. From a lot of the reading I have done, It seems like its a combination of the extreme heat on the coast and very poorly drained soil. I dont know what the long term survival will be; i'm happy with a few years if I can get it, but thought I would at least try. I've read about wollemia surviving in parts of the coastal south (south of DC), but curious if anyone knows any that may have survived for more than a few years and under what conditions those that survived are in...?

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 4:35PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Sandy soil seems to delay the inevitable. Sooner or later a heavy, warm summer rain will lower the dissolved O2 in the soil or whatever it is that triggers the outbreak of Phytophthora or whatnot - then it kills the plant. There's a reason we don't see the classic UK/PNW rhododendron hybrids in the coastal south, no matter how sandy the soil. It's obviously not that the winters are too cold, it's that the summers are too hot & humid.

I just say this so that you don't have unrealistic expectations. I wish your plants that best but if you really want it to survive long term, the best chance is to do what Salicaceae did and graft it onto a subtropical conifer known to grow in the SE.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 10:29PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

BTW - I don't know how hardy Agathis is, but if it will graft onto that, I presume it will also graft onto Araucaria angustifolia. That grows very well in the South. I wouldn't call it readily available in the trade, but it's there if you know where to look. www.desertnorthwest.com sometimes has them.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 10:36PM
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nikkie_in_toronto

David...thank you for the information. I did sort of figure prospects werent that good, but its fun to try things.I have killed so many plants in my days. I figure that you win some and you lose some. I have collected various conifers "up north" and wanted to try a few in the South. I started out with this wollemia along with a cupressus cashmeriana and cathaya. I still am trying to find some other more unusual conifers that may be adaptable to the south that arent widely grown up north, such as metasequoia, taxodium and various juniperus that appear everywhere north and south. Would love to find some type of araucaria for charleston.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 11:10PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

What conifers do they have in the Raulston Arboretum?

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 11:45PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)
    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 7:27AM
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sam_md

nikkie wrote would love to find some type of araucaria for Charleston Can we assume that you mean Charleston SC? In that case check out the 36' high Arauacaria angustifolia in the Atlanta Botanical Garden:
http://significanttreesofgeorgia.uga.edu/araucariaangustifolia.pdf
Also, check out my gardenweb thread and see the beautiful Monkey Puzzle at Norfolk Zoological Park.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Monkey Puzzle Thread

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 9:02AM
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nikkie_in_toronto

It appears that the best araucaria, would obviously be angustifolia. I have seen very nice specimens at Magnolia Gardens in Chstn as well as one of the public squares in downtown Savannah. Interesting list from JC Raulston Arb. I am surprised to see Calocedrus decurrens, Cupressus macrocarpa as well as Sequoia sempervirens. I started growing a few things in Toronto many many years ago, and eventually moved to the Cleveland Ohio area and have (over my many years) collected various cultivars of Cryptomeria japonica, Cedrus atlantica and deodara, Cupressus glabra, Sequoiadendron giganetum and others including Cunninghamia that were allegedly not "cold hardy" yet have lived over two decades for me here along Lake Erie. This will probably be my last garden, at this age, and is a totally new experience for me dealing with heat over cold. I'm certainly interested in learning and any information you all would have is so greatly appreciated. N

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 10:20AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

>Help yourselfI wasn't asking for my benefit.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 12:44PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

NB that not every tree at the Arboretum is exactly thriving. I suspect Calocedrus has a southern limit on the US East Coast, and that limit is probably right around the NCSU arboretum. I don't remember what their plant looked like.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 1:29PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

by which of course I mean Calocedrus decurrens. The Taiwanese one will pick up where the Californian one leaves off, and possibly grow as far south as Orlando.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 1:31PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

>Help yourselfI wasn't asking for my benefit.

I'm sure everyone else reading the thread felt welcome to follow my link.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 1:32PM
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nikkie_in_toronto

I read Sams monkey puzzle tree link. That is a beautiful specimen in Norfolk VA. I've heard of araucaria araucana doing well in the upstate of SC, but I am wondering what its southern limit is? I only have room for about 5 or 6 "large" specimens. I hear people say that they are growing a "monkey puzzle tree" as far south as NOLA, but I think they are confusing araucana and angustifolia or even perhaps cunninghamia...

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 2:11PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

I'm a little surprised to see this tree in Norfolk. NB that that the botanical garden there DOES NOT have one, and they have certainly tried them. There was a guy named Fred Huette who tried a bunch of rare & exotic plants in the 60s-70s, and I have no doubt he would have tried some monkey puzzles although I don't specifically remember if his book mentioned them. A friend of my family knew him and I suppose I could always contact him to see if he remembers that some were planted.
IN ANY CASE I think the Norfolk tree is one of the lucky survivors I mentioned. These trees just hate east coast conditions...end of discussion. The fact remains they do have an absolute southern limit on the East Coast (as well as a northern one, obviously), and in Charleston you'd be totally wasting your time with it in my opinion. They can die on you when they get up to 10' or so...that happened to a tree in Columbia, MD. Then you have a tedious prickly carcass removal job. Just get an A. angustifolia that far south. I think they are more picturesque when they got large anyhow, and they grow faster.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 2:28PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Here's a Parana pine I started from seed in 2000, 11 years later. This is in a zn 8 part of the Gulf South. As you can see the growth rate is excellent, especially since its first 3-4 years were in a pot that got passed-along several times! (this is a fair use of someone else's photo. I removed a person but you can see her arm)

The seed was from Chiltern but they haven't had it in many years since then.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 3:02PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Nice and bushy. West coast ones I have seen were not nearly as striking as monkey puzzle, look rather more like Cunninghamia instead - as does yours.

Biggest I have seen is at San Francisco Botanic Garden. Zonal denialists like to push this as a hardy species but I know of no lasting examples of any serious size at my latitude. A small one I planted on Camano Island a few years ago is still alive but creeps along.

Jacobson, North American Landscape Trees (1996, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley) reports that one in Montecito was 67' tall by 1992.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 3:16PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Thanks. Jacobson rocks. I love that book.
I wonder how long it takes them to develop the upturned umbralla tops. A tree I saw in Sonoma County wasn't there yet and was clearly old than this one.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 5:09PM
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nikkie_in_toronto

Beautiful tree, David. I will definitely try that one if I can find a source for it. Thank you again!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 9:30PM
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salicaceae(z8b FL)

Here is my Wollemia I grafted onto Agathis robusta. It is much bigger now.. From Conifers August 2011

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 11:58PM
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pineresin

"Here is my Wollemia I grafted onto Agathis robusta. It is much bigger now"

Very weak-looking stem, though. It badly needs some more diameter. Etiolated?

Resin

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 5:45AM
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salicaceae(z8b FL)

Yes, the root stock was slow to catch up with the scion growth. After being placed outside in more sun and such, it is catching up, but graft inocompatibility may be an issue in the future? This photo was taken during the winter when I had it in the greenhouse, and at night.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 9:19AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

The yellow new growth might be a problem with minerals in the soil or water.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 1:59PM
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salicaceae(z8b FL)

Yes, we had some nutritional issues for a while - bad potting mix. It is green now.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 6:09PM
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sam_md

Here's the neat thing about the Wollemi and closely related Araucariaceae, they not only survived the breakup of Pangaea but managed to hang on after the K-T extinction event which drove the dinosaurs extinct and ended the Cretaceous. That's the fantastic part of their story which is missing from this thread.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 9:47AM
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pineresin

"they not only survived the breakup of Pangaea but managed to hang on after the K-T extinction event which drove the dinosaurs extinct and ended the Cretaceous. That's the fantastic part of their story which is missing from this thread"

errr . . . . so did everything else that we see around us. No great shakes! ;-)

Resin

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 9:59AM
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sam_md

I've been reading A Natural History of Conifers by Aljos Farjon. Maybe an understanding of WP's native setting would be helpful. The Wollemi Wilderness consists of elevated plateaus of Triassic sandstone. WP's companions are coachwood Ceratopetalus apetalus and sassafras Doryphora sassafras .
Contrast this with the 13 species of Araucaria growing on New Caledonia. The distribution maps of these species overlaps the ultramafic soils where nickel mining occurs.
Araucarias growing in Chilean Cordillera's volcanic soils are likewise ultramafic however the elements in this case are Iron & Magnesium.
Here is Table 4 from the book. This shows the ancient lineage of Podocarpaceae & Araucariaceae traced back to the Triassic which makes them unique among extant conifer families.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 9:12PM
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sam_md

Last Thursday the BBC reported that Wiltshire College's WP is forming cones. As the species is monoecious I suppose this means it could actually produce viable seed?

Here is a link that might be useful: BBC Article

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 8:08PM
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sam_md

As I write this the temperature is a frigid 5ð F in Washington DC. This will be a great chance to see just how much cold those Wollemi Pines at Smithsonian can really take.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 8:37AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Most of the camellia collection at the USNA got wiped out awhile back because it finally got too cold for it. Those are the kinds of occurrences that matter when you are trying to make plantings of woody plants that you expect or hope to be long-term ("permanent") features.

Or you don't want to be exposed to the risk of another killer winter coming around again a few years after planting.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 2:54PM
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sam_md

This pic was taken today behind the Smithsonian Castle. This is such a prominent and highly visable garden I'm sure they will be removed. Even if last week's cold didn't kill them they will really be unsightly.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 9:50PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Fried, as expected. The damage to lower foliage visible in the photos up-thread might have been due to cold exposure also.

Probably able to grow back from the crowns, if they want to keep them as sprouting specimens that go up and down repeatedly like Cordyline australis does here.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 3:51PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Interestingly, those Wollemias at the Smithsonian survived the 8F in 2009 but not the 7F (at the airport) last week.

Although last week was VERY windy, compared to the 2009 event which, IIRC, was pretty calm.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 11:31PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Well, that settles it!
The pitched pitchfork makes me wonder if it's even still there. Yes indeed, for botanical gardens keeping up appearances is pretty important. Especially when some busybody Senator could shout "why do they have dead plants, with all the money we give them!"
If they do dig it up the least they could do is keep it in a giant pot. They have plenty of plants like that including some very old Myrtus topiaries, a gorgeous Podocarpus, etc.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 6:38PM
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philinsydney1

â¢Posted by pineresin 8/9 UK (My Page) on Tue, Nov 13, 12 at 7:05

"Recently I found out that they are hardy to zone 7a"
It isn't. It is only hardy to zone 9.

Resin
Resin, do you think provenance of individual plants plays a part in cold-hardiness, or is it uniform across a species?

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 4:15PM
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salicaceae(z8b FL)

There is no provenance variation for this species. It is one stand of trees in one location, and these all appear to be a single clone. Variation in hardiness comes from having subpopulations that are adapted to variation in climate.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 6:58PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

While it has been stated that the current horticultural distribution is a clone, why would the wild population be a single genetic individual? And HOW would it be a single genetic individual? The only way would be through apomixis - is that what is thought to have happened? I haven't read any accounts for awhile.

While in general the entire wild population being in one habitat would tend to assure a narrower range of tolerances it is not always the case, with some plants quite rare in the wild having turned out to be possible to grow over large areas of the earth.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 9:58PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

"While it has been stated that the current horticultural distribution is a clone, why would the wild population be a single genetic individual?"

I was in college in the mid-late 90s and I remember reading an article in Nature or whereever that was the first to majorly publicize the Wollemi to world academia. I think a botany professor pointed out the journal to me. I feel almost certain that article said preliminary genetic tests showed that all plants found were one clone.
For some reason, this no longer seems widely publicized. Either 1) new testing showed it is in fact not the case or 2) they just don't talk about that aspect of the species anymore.
In any case, the population obviously isn't very broad or geographically extensive, or genetically diverse.

"with some plants quite rare in the wild having turned out to be possible to grow over large areas of the earth." Yeah well that is true of some species, but compare for example Metasequoia, which does grow well in a variety of climates and has no major disease problems. It grew on a part of the Eurasian continent that at least got somewhat colder in past recent ice ages - Australia barely did - and was probably made almost extinct by the long history of human habitation in China. (but recent in gene flow scale - those long, straight trunks look very convenient for building things) OTOH, we don't know what chased Wollemi into an isolated valley. Could it have been a pathogen? One assumes these things are somehow being studied by examining the fossil record, buried pollen etc. My point being Metasequoia is probably a more vigorous and genetically sound species.

This post was edited by davidrt28 on Sat, Jan 18, 14 at 23:32

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 11:30PM
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philinsydney1

As far as I know, they think a drying climate chased these conifers into the two adjacent canyons.
Yeah, it was a dumb question of mine on a Wollemi pine thread. but I was really trying to gauge opinions about provenance in general. Some of you will know that other threads have carried discussions about whether there is such a thing as cold-hardiness of individual plants based on their location, and I find it an intriguing topic. So I'm just sounding y'all out.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 4:26AM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

"And HOW would it be a single genetic individual? "

I forgot to address this part. I believe the assumption is it has been layering/coppicing for many millennia, but there are reports in England of lone individuals forming seeds so they are presumably capable of attempting apomixis.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.academia.edu/1127216/The_Wollemi_Pine_and_the_fossil_record

This post was edited by davidrt28 on Sun, Jan 19, 14 at 10:03

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 9:59AM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

Thank you, David.
That was good reading. Nice pictures too.
It looks like, by their shape, the mature branches can't handle a snow load that some zone 9 climates have occasionally.
Mike

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 1:45PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Looks like the same article I read before, skimming it again I recognize the parts about the trees often sort of flowing into one another and the testing showing uniform genetics - so far.

Earlier I thought what they showed and described were clearly discrete individual clumps of stems, in the manner of china fir and umbrella pine etc.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 3:03PM
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salicaceae(z8b FL)

Genetic diversity in a population does not equate to provenance variation. Even if every individual in this population were different, that would still be a very small gene pool to select hardier individuals from. The best opportunity to select for hardiness comes when you have a large geographical range and subpopulations to select from. I have my doubts that this species will ever be a long term plant in anything colder than a zone 9. That said, the bigger threat is from Phytophthora - it seems to be killing many cultivated individuals, even in Australia.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 6:18PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

salicaceae, I know you have a degree and work in academia though I'm not sure of the details...I got a degree in biology but it was a long time ago and ecology and population genetics are things I've mostly forgotten other than the general concepts...

Let me bounce this thought off you: was spreading Wollemia around the world really a good idea? Obviously, there is little genetic diversity even in the source population (versus most plants which get introduced to another continent. In that case, the "founder effect" only applies to the overseas introductions) What sometimes happens is that pathogens evolve to destroy a certain line bred plant. Take potatoes for example. I saw a program years ago on PBS about how a scientist had to go back to the native stands of potatoes in the Andes to get genes for resistant to potato blight et al. In the case of Wollemia, doesn't having it all over the world mean that there will be many more chances for various local pathogens to be selected for an ability to destroy it...in which case those organisms could make their way back to the original stand. (where, presumably, some kind of hypovirulent detente had been reached over many thousands of years with the local oomycetes/root rot organisms) Or maybe it's not quite that Rube Goldberg-esque, and the issue is just that the valley where the native stand is needs to be protected from ANY foreign oomycetes or fungi entering.

Now that I think about it, I suppose my scenario could apply at least w/in Australia itself, where cosmopolitan suburban areas probably have more diverse pathogen populations due to early cross-continental exchanges with Asia, Europe & North America.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 12:48AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Franklinia may have been in the process of being killed off by water molds when first discovered. If it had not been introduced to cultivation - apparently in the nick of time - there wouldn't be any left anywhere.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 1:53PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Yeah you raise a good point there. It probably didn't matter in the end whether they distributed it or not. Just keeping the virulent pathogens out of the Wollemi park valley is the only chance they may have of preserving the native stands. I guess that's one reason why they won't let people visit.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 4:28PM
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thefof(NSW Aust)

Guys
I have been following the Wollemi story ever since it broke, here in Australia.
My specimen is now about 7 yrs old and going great guns. We had a VERY wet summer a couple of years ago and the growing tip looked like it was dying. The following spring it was a bit slow in getting going again, but when it did, it put on three leaders and a couple of new shoots from the base. With 5 active growing points, it was definately slower growing, last year, compared to previous years
As posters have pointed out, there is very limited genetic diversity, but there is some. There have been 3 stands located, totalling about 100 'individual' trees, 2 of which are genetically identical, while the 3rd shows some variation. The exact location of the canyon where they are, is still a closely guarded secret, though some canyoners and bush walkers have found it.
The first time I saw one, at Mt Annon Botanical Garden, my immediate response was "I have seen this before, somewhere!". Knowing the canyon where they had been located, was somewhere in the vicinity of Newnes, I realised that I had probably, totally unknowingly, seen them a few years earlier. A group of us had decided to go canyoning near Newnes, and our "trusty leader" assured us that we wouldn't need wetsuits etc, as our planned route was totally dry. We knew we were not on the proper route when we came to a point where there was a hole, at least 6-8 ft deep and about 20 ft across, full of beautiful, clear, cold water. The only way forward was down to undies and swim. The girls were NOT impressed. Looking back, I bet we walked passed them without realising whart they were, apart from, obviously, being one of the Araucaria.
It has been shown to propagate quite well from cuttings, and naturally coppices. Seeds were located on and around the trees, but no seedlings were observed in the wild. This could be due to insufficient light/moisture in the canyon because the seeds have been shown to be viable in controlled conditions.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 9:09AM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Thanks for the additional information. Salicaceae, would be nice to have an updated picture of your grafted tree, since that is likely to be the only way they will become semi-popular in the US southeast. Not that Araucaria angustifolia rootstock is any easier to obtain than Agathis, but should it work on that as well, right?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 1:12PM
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