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Aussie state gov't cultivates one of world's rarest trees in secret as "insurance policy"
Last Updated: 2018-06-25 11:52 | Xinhua
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Wollemi Pine, or "Dinosaur Tree," has blossomed and is sprouting in a new secret location as an "insurance policy" for the fragile wild population, Australian researchers said on Monday.

Previously thought to have been extinct for 2 million years and only known from fossil records, Wollemi Pine was discovered in 1994 at a remote canyon in the Blue Mountains region of New South Wales (NSW) State, Australia.

"It's one of the world's oldest and rarest plants from the time of the dinosaurs and there are less than 100 trees left in the wild," NSW environment minister Gabrielle Upton said.

The new population of ancient trees translocated by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage along with a number of other partners, acts as an "insurance policy" for the original group.

"Creating a self-sustaining insurance population will ultimately boost numbers to secure species in the wild," Upton said.

Dr Cathy Offord, principal research scientist at The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, said the insurance plantation has started producing seeds and cones and is doing better than those in the wild.

"Some 83 percent of the insurance Wollemi pines are surviving and have increased in size by up to 37 percent making them mature enough to produce potentially viable seeds much earlier than expected," she said.

Botanic scientists believe the ancient tree came into existence some 200 million years ago, when dinosaurs walked the earth.

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