Thursday, 27 November 2008

Australian plants for The Prince of Wales
With a very successful and well attended luncheon the Australian Monarchist League (AML) celebrated the 60th birthday of The Prince of Wales in Sydney. The AML presented the future King of Australia Wollemi Pines as their birthday gift. The Prince of Wales will plant them at Highgrove.

The Wollemi Pine was discovered in 1994 and there are only about 40 of them in the wild (some accounts say 80 adult pine). Up to its discovery it was known only from fossils records and it was thought to have become extinct 65 million years ago. It only occurs in one deep sandstone gorge in the Wollemi National Park.

Since The Prince of Wales was so pleased with the Australian gift, the AML decided to include a number of Australian Dicksonia Antarctica ferns as well. Philip Benwell: “A decision was therefore made to gift to Prince Charles sixty ferns.” These will be delivered to Highgrove in March 2009 for planting. The Dicksonia Antarctica, known as the Soft Tree Fern, Man Fern or Tasmanian Tree Fern is an evergreen tree fern native to parts of Australia, namely Tasmania, New South Wales and Victoria.

The fern can grow to 15 m in height, but more typically grow about 4.5 to 5 m. The large, dark green, roughly-textured fronds spread in a canopy of two to six m in diameter. The shapes of the stems vary as some grow curved and there are multi-headed ones. The fonds are borne in flushes, with fertile and sterile fronds often in alternating layers.

To raise money for the purchase of the gift, the AML started a special ‘Prince of Wales’ raffle, which will include a print of one of Prince Charles’ paintings. Raffles tickets are sold at $ 5.00. Should you be interested in buying raffle tickets, please contact the League’s National Chairman

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