The National Trust’s Bodnant Garden in North Wales is partnering with Forestry England to plant ‘dinosaur trees’ as part of the first global ‘metacollection’ to save the endangered pine species.
Wollemi pine trees will be planted across 28 gardens in the UK and Europe as part of the ‘metacollection’, in a bid to save the species from extinction and help protect the biodiversity of wild trees.
Due to recent advances in genetic techniques, Australian plant science and conservation experts have been able to identify and breed genetically diverse Wollemi pines.
Growing the trees globally in this way preserves the widest range of genetic diversity found in the wild population, says the National Trust.
More than 170 young Wollemi pine trees, also known as the ‘dinosaur tree’, were grown by Botanic Gardens of Sydney and shipped from Australia .
The species was thought to be extinct between 70 and 90 million years ago until a small living group of trees was discovered in 1994 at the Wollemi National Park in New South Wales.
Ned Lomax, head gardener at Bodnant Garden, says: “Due to pressures from climate change, development and deforestation, many of these trees are now endangered in the wild and so our plants, originally grown for ornamental effect, have become highly important for their conservation value.”
The planting of the Wollemi Pines is part of a wider programme of plant conservation work being delivered by the National Trust.