- Evergreen tree, conifer, to 80-130 ft (25-40 m) tall, often multi-stemmed. Bark dark brown and knobby. Leaves linear, flat, 3–8 cm long and 2–5 mm wide, although arrange spirally, they are twisted at the base so as to appear in two or four flattened ranks. Female (seed) cones are green, 6–12 cm long and 5–10 cm in diameter, and mature about 18–20 months after pollination. At maturity they disintegrate to release the seeds. Male (pollen) cones are slender conic, 5–11 cm long and 1–2 cm wide.
- Reportedly tolerates full sun and or deep shade, in locations of intense sunlight (e.g., Australia) young plants do best in 50% shade or under dapple light. Requires good drainage and is susceptible to the root rot organism, Phytophthora cinnamomi. Prefers acid soils but adaptable to other soil types.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 9, or possibly Zone 8. Native to semi-tropical Australia (see below).
- Wollemia nobilis is the sole species in the genus Wollemia and living plants were discovered in Australia in 1994! in a remote series of narrow, steep-sided sandstone gorges in a temperate rainforest wilderness area of the Wollemi National Park in New South Wales, roughly about 100 miles north-west of Sydney. Fossil evidence indicates that between 200 million and 100 million years ago, Wollemi pine was present across all of Australia. In late 2019, the grove of Wollemia pines, at a secret location in the Park, was threatened by the huge Gospers Mountain Fire which was started by lighting in October. A special detail of firefighters were dropped into the area to set-up and then operate an irrigation system in the grove and helicopters also dropped water on the fire edge to reduce any impact on the trees; and they were saved.
- Wollemia: Latin form of Wollemi, the National Park in New South Wales is where the trees were discovered
nobilis: considered a pun, conveying ‘noble’ in the dictionary sense, but with obvious reference also to the discoverer of this remarkable tree, David Nobel, then of the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
- The common name is Wollemi Pine, although it is not a pine, but in the family Araucariaceae, which also contains the Monkey Puzzle (Araucaria araucana) and the Norfolk Island "Pine" (Araucaria heterophylla). Wollemia nobilis became commercially available in 2006.