Endangered conifers planted at RHS Rosemoor

The last of the six endangered Wollemi Pines were planted at RHS Rosemoor as part of a special worldwide conservation programme led Forestry England.

RHS Rosemoor planting of Wollemi Pines
credit: RHS Rosemoor

Wollemia nobilis, dubbed the ‘dinosaur tree’ is an evergreen coniferous tree that was thought to have become extinct between 70 and 90 million years ago. Fortunately, in 1994 a chance discovery was made, when a small group of living trees was found growing in a remote gorge in the Wollemi National Park in New South Wales. This moment is considered one of the greatest botanical discoveries of our time.

The tree species is now classified as critically endangered on the IUCN’s red list, an important indicator of the world’s biodiversity which sets out the risks of extinction for plant and animal species.

RHS Rosemoor is joining together with Forestry England to plant the critically endangered Wollemi pine trees as part of the first global metacollection to save the iconic species from extinction and help protect the biodiversity of wild trees. RHS Rosemoor received 6 out of the 170 young trees, destined for planting in botanic gardens around the world.

Growing the trees worldwide in this way preserves the widest range of genetic diversity found in the wild population and aims to safeguard Wollemi pines from becoming extinct.