Jurassic Bark

By london_will Last edited 166 months ago
Jurassic Bark

The Wollemi Pine is to be reintroduced to Kew Gardens. This might not sound remarkable, but Wollemis were thought to have died out in the Jurassic era, 200 million years ago. This Coelecanth of among trees was rediscovered in a gorge in Australia in 1994.

Richard Attenborough clearly isn't available for the unveiling today - good job too, considering the hash he made of his other Jurassic comeback tour - so it's being handled by his brother, David.

Only a 100 species of tree have survived the Jurassic era. As the Guardian says:

The tree flourished in Jurassic conditions, long before the appearance of modern mammals. Dinosaurs must have foraged in its leaves, pterosaurs taken flight from its branches. Its home would have been part of a vast supercontinent called Gondwana, that later splintered into Africa, Australia, South America, India and Antarctica. It survived a complete reshuffle of the world's landscape and 17 ice ages.

"It would have survived huge changes in climate, first the Cretaceous warmth. There were no glaciers at the poles in those days. And then, a gradually deteriorating climate," said Sir Peter [Crane, director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew]. "It is the ultimate survivor."

Another Wollemi is being planted at Wakehurst Place, West Sussex, by Kenneth Branagh.

The Wollemi Pine homepage notes these as the best uses for the trees:

Unique gift for special occasions, a stunning patio and indoor plant and feature tree for parks and large gardens.

But, as Dickie Attenborough discovered, isn't there just a bit of a risk that by playing God and reviving a Jurassic species we might unleash disaster? After all, Kew is still fighting a desperate war against ravenous asylum-seeking Triffids. The possibility of killer trees being added to the mix is too horrible to contemplate. Or will the dino-trees take on the giant weeds in a dramatic deathmatch, like Godzilla versus Moth-ra? Only time will tell.

Last Updated 10 May 2005