Wollemi Pine, one of the world's oldest and rarest tree species, will go on display in Mumbai's biggest museum after Australia's New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell gifted it a sapling earlier this month.
According to a statement, the premier - who was on his official visit to Mumbai - had requested the young pine from the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, that procured the gift for its journey to the western Indian city.
The Wollemi Pine, the oldest and rarest tree species was only discovered 10 years ago by a bushwalker in NSW. The young pine was planted during a ceremony at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum attended by Maharashtra State MPs, Minister Suresh Shetty, Legislative Assembly Speaker Dilip Walse Patil and Legislative Council Chairman Shivraj Deshmukh. "I am grateful to Mumbai officials who have allowed this rare and endangered species to be grown inside the museum compound," O'Farrell said.
"We encourage people and organisations to grow the Wollemi Pine in an attempt to conserve it because introduced diseases are threatening its survival," the premier said, adding there are fewer than 100 Wollemi Pines growing in the wild and the species is listed as critically endangered.
"Having a Wollemi Pine planted in Mumbai's museum allows us to reach further afield and raise awareness about why this plant needs to be protected against extinction," he said.
Scientists from the Royal Botanic Gardens were involved in identifying the tree after NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service officer David Noble discovered it in 1994.
During the visit, O'Farrell also discussed the next stages of the NSW-Maharashtra sister-state memorandum of understanding.