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.
The Wollemi Pine was discovered in an isolated and rugged ravine only 200km northwest of Sydney by David Noble in August 1994. He was a National Parks and Wildlife Services Officer who was trekking and abseiling with colleagues in the Wollemi National Park when he noticed the unusual nature of this pine and took a small fallen branch home for identification. The rest is history. For more information about this fascinating tree.
Following the first limited commercial release of Wollemi Pines on October 2005 through an exclusive Sotheby’s auction held at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Sydney, Thor Beowulf, created the world’s first authenticated Wollemi Pine bonsai from one of these “Collectors Edition” trees. “The Kiccoro”, from Lot71 in the Sotheby’s catalogue, means “forest child” in Japanese and, with its natural shape, seemed the most appropriate tree to bonsai. The horticultural and mass media widely reported this historic event and Thor has gone on to produce more bonsai from this rare and ancient species of tree.
With deep respect to the Wollemi Pine’s natural elegance and form, Thor initially shaped “The Kiccoro” in a style which would provide aesthetic movement to the tree while retaining its vertical grace. The roots and much of the foliage were heavily pruned and two of this tree’s three main branches were removed and trunk extensively wired. Though only temporary, structural pruning and wiring are necessary measures through which the bonsai artist styles a tree. It is of great importance that these processes be done with care and respect to enhance the intrinsic qualities of the tree, not to dominate or grotesquely deform it in a manner unnatural to its natural form.