I was in London earlier this week for an editorial meeting with many of the Annals of Botany members. As part of it, I took my first trip to Kew. So long as you’re not thinking, you can take a pleasant stroll around the gardens in two or three hours. There’s some nice shaded paths beneath the trees and some well-sculpted displays. If you stop and start thinking “Hey! Almost every one of these trees is different from its neighbours, how much effort is it to keep them all growing and healthy?” then you’ll need days. I took a few photos there and had the odd experience of one coming out as I expected it too. Usually I take dozens and try and find one I can rescue into something viewable.
This is a Wollemi Pine. It’s found in Australia, but not very often as there’s fewer than 100 of them in the wild. It was also, till 1994, thought to be extinct as it was only known from fossils. It wasn’t till less than 20 years ago a stand of them was found 60 miles out of Sydney. Professor Carrick Chambers, director of Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens, said at the time of the discovery that it was “the equivalent of finding a small dinosaur still alive on Earth”.