I probably wouldn't have notice this inconspicuous tree if it hadn't had the cage around it, it turns out to protect this very special tree from theft.
I have added the labeling which accompanied the tree but have copied it below out so it is easier to read. I think it is probably a bit out of date now reading of when they were due to go on sale but interesting al the same.
A Living fossil
In 1994 David Noble, a park ranger and fervent hiker, made a discovery in the Blue Mountains. 200km from the Australian metropolis of Sydney: live specimens of the Wollemi pine (Wollemi nobilis). A living fossil had been found. Approx’60 full-grown trees were discovered in two narrow valleys. Until then, this primitive conifer was only known as a fossil. In Prehistoric times, the Wollemi pine had a much larger area of distribution. Only these two small groups survived the climate changes.
Protection, cultivation, and dispersal
A species that has very few specimens growing in a small area, like the Wollemi pine, is very vulnerable. A storm or disease is sufficient to exterminate it. A cultivation project has been initiated to prevent such extinction. The Royal Botanic Gardens of Sydney first researched the possibilities of propagating the species by means of seeds and cuttings.
By cultivatingmany offspring and dispersing them all over the world, the risk of extinction decreases. Large-scale cultivation is currently being performed by a professional grower: Wollemi Pine International Pty Ltd. In fact, thousands of young Wollemi pines have been cultivated since the discover. At the moment these plants are under lock and key: However this will change. In 2006, they will be sold worldwide. Plant lovers can then buy their own Wollemi pine and, in this way, help preserve this extraordinary tree. Specimens of the Wollemi pine can be seen at a fewbotanic gardens. The area where the Wollemi pine was found is now a National Park. Part of the proceeds from the plant sale will help finance the park.
In the Hortus –Evolution route
This bed is part of the evolution route and displays plants from the Permian and Triassiceras (290-200 million years ago) The wollemi pine belongs to the Araucariaceae family, a group of primitive conifers that came into being approx 200 million years ago. Another well know member of this family is the monkey-puzzel tree (Araucaria araucana). Most of the species in this plant group are now extinct. You can find more information on the Wollemi pine at WollemiPine.com - the official home of the Wollemi Pine - redirection page