The Wollemi pine is often described a living fossil as before its discovery in 1994 it was only known through the fossil record. A national park field officer found a colony of these trees in an inaccessible part of the Blue Mountains only 100 miles from Sydney (Australia's biggest city) and the species was subsequently named after him. Fewer than hundred trees comprise the three original locations of the Wollemi pine. In order to ensure the longevity of these populations a propagation program made specimens available throughout the world. Since all the individuals of the original locations are genetically indistinguishable, this tree is genetically identical to those survivors.
The Wollemi pine is not a true pine tree, but a member of the Araucariaceae family which includes the Bunya and hoop pines of Australia and the monkey puzzle tree of South America. It grows to 80 - 130 feet tall and can have up to 100 stems believed to be a result of old coppice growth. The trunks are dark brown with a bubbly appearance. The waxy green leaves are flat and about 1-3 inches long and 1-2 inches wide and arranged spirally on the branches. Propagation is by seed. The trees are very slow-growing with some original specimens believed to be 500-1000 years old.