297 – You can own a critically endangered species

Here’s another quick follow up to my post on Monday about the value of a threatened species. Ross Allen contacted me to say that he had received a present of a Wollemi Pine in a pot. The interesting thing is that the Wollemi Pine is one of Australia’s 148 critically endangered plants.

It turns out that you can buy a Wollemi Pine pot plant online. Here’s the short blurb from www.wollemipine.com.

The Wollemi Pine is one of the world’s oldest and rarest plants dating back to the time of the dinosaurs. With less than 100 adult trees known to exist in the wild, the Wollemi Pine is now the focus of extensive research to safeguard its survival. 

And here is why they are doing it:


Photo: Akerbeltz

Assist in the conservation effort by growing your own Wollemi Pine and becoming part of one of the most dramatic comebacks in natural history.

The mission of Wollemi Australia Pty Ltd is to distribute the Wollemi Pine worldwide ensuring the longevity of the plant for future generations and returning royalties to fund conservation of the Wollemi Pine in the wild and assist other threatened and endangered species.

The Botanic Gardens Trust (Sydney) has licensed Wollemi Australia Pty Ltd to propagate and market the Wollemi Pine in Australia and internationally. 

That’s a pretty interesting use of the market economy to help preserve a species. It looks like they are even selling them into Europe and soon Japan. I hope they don’t become a feral species over there!

Obviously, this strategy wouldn’t work for all threatened species. Luckily for Wollemi Pines, they’re interesting looking, apparently can be successfully propagated, and it’s not the end of the world if Ross doesn’t have a green thumb. I don’t think I’ll be allowed to buy a Western Swamp Tortoise any time soon.


  • Anna Roberts
    29 September, 2016 - 8:32 pm | link

    Why can’t you buy a western swamp tortoise? They are small and cute in an reptilian sort of way 🙂

  • Neil byron
    30 September, 2016 - 3:49 am | link

    Wollemi IS critically endangered in the wild but probably the least endangered plant in the world overall – there are tens of millions of them in gardens on every populated content. They could never be eradicated by disease, fires or deliberate attempts at eradication – eradication or the extinction is physically and economically impossible. The market has saved Wollemi and ensured its continued existence in a way that no Threatened Species legislation ever could.

  • Ron Parkin
    30 September, 2016 - 11:43 am | link

    Hi David,
    I know you have been back from your trip for some time now but we haven’t bumped into each other. This latest note on Wollemi Pine attracted my attention because we got interested in it at Nedlands Golf Club when I was Course director about 6 years ago. Two of our lady members were very keen about them so we acquired three plants each between 80-90cm tall. However raising them is not as easy as it would at first appear when you realise how many are in gardens around the world. Two we placed in very large pots at the club-house and the third we transplanted onto the course in the most shaded and protected place we could find that would be visible from the club-house.
    The two in pots despite constant watering were too exposed and suffered continual burnt foliage during late spring, summer and early autumn. Sadly I have to say we lost the lot so apart from their natural habitat in the Blue Mountains home gardens in very well protected locations may be the best place for them.

  • 9 October, 2016 - 3:46 pm | link

    Golden Valley Tree Park, the arboretum in Balingup, has three Wollemi doing fairly well.

  • 27 September, 2017 - 2:55 am | link

    This post seems to be very interesting as this looks like a very good practice of bring the endangered species to your home .The wollemin pine is a plant which is the endangered species of Australia and even can be purchased online and that’s like very good even for the plant spices as they are not wasted and are actually properly take care by the people of Australia. From my point of view either I believe that it is very important to save the endangered species so they can be saved for the future generations.

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