Wollemia nobilis...any news on timeline for U.S. sales?

Discussion in 'Araucariaceae' started by markinwestmich, Jul 24, 2006.

  1. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    £? alt-0163
     
  2. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    I should simply send you 30 Thank You cards, Daniel, every week for all your help.
     
  3. Landscapeplants

    Landscapeplants Member

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    Hi Folks,

    I'm and Aussie who currently lives in San Diego but also has several farms in Childers, Queensland.

    I've been following the Wollem(i) (sorry you can't call them by the common name in the USA as it was trademarked by Birkdale Nursery) story for many years as Ken Hill one of the describers of the species is a good friend from the cycad world. In August 2006 I applied for export permits for the Wollemia from DEH Australia and was granted an unlimited permit to export Wollemia anywhere in the world.

    I initially imported some into the USA and distributed them to botanical gardens such as Lotusland and The Huntington. At this stage Birkdale Nursery sued me for $1,000,000 for trademark infringement for using the name Wollem(i) in the USA.

    The first photo shows some of my plants in California, they were approximately 20-24" tall when imported and have grown about 6-10" since September.

    On one of my farms back in Australia we have over 200 wollemia nobilis which we will be planting for cutting and seed production. Our farm there has an ideal sub-tropical climate and we are seeing tremendous growth.

    The second photo shows our plants at our Aussie property

    On the matter of the importation of the plants to North America, several thousand were sent to Canada in September this year in 4" pots, they were then repoted and sent to Beds and Borders in Florida for distribution.

    So for you people in Canada they have been there for several months.

    The third photo is a comparison between a plant I donated to a Botanical Garden compared to one from the NG which was advertised at 10-14" tall but only turned out to be 3.5" TALL.

    All in all I don't think the North American release has gone real well for them with numerous complaints about the size and quality of the plants they have sent out.

    Further reading can be found at the WOLLEMIA group at YAHOO GROUPS.

    Or contact me privately

    Thanks

    Bruce
     

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  4. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Sounds like an interesting story regarding the trademark.

    However, I'm surprised at it. It's fairly apparent that under Australian law (Intellectual Property for Plants and Plant Material - PDF) and American law (Tony Avent's excellent article on The Trademark Myth) that attempting to trademark a common name fails. Case law and precedent also seems to support this: Rooibos Tea Trademark Dispute Settled, where

    For those interested, I note you began a discussion on this over at GardenWeb as well.
     
  5. Landscapeplants

    Landscapeplants Member

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    Daniel,

    It has certainly been a few interesting months and we have no doubt that the trademark will be disallowed. We have recieved tremendous help from Tony and his contacts on trademark law from Harvard University.

    We are certainly looking forward to our Wollemia nobilis plantation in Australia as we will have nearly twice as many trees as the natural habitat.

    Kindest regards

    Bruce
     
  6. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I'll also note that the application to trademark Wollemi in Canada was abandoned, so members of these forums needn't worry one iota about using the name Wollemi pine.

    Application to Trademark Wollemi
     
  7. bcgift52

    bcgift52 Active Member

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    So where are these plants in Canada ? Or have they all been sent down to Florida ?
     
  8. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    On the matter of the importation of the plants to North America, several thousand were sent to Canada in September this year in 4" pots, they were then repoted and sent to Beds and Borders in Florida for distribution.

    ...and here I am painting the "nursery" in anticipation of baby Wollemi's arrival. I am--to use that wonderfully-descriptive English phrase--gobsmacked that they were repotted in Canada and sent to Florida, only to come back. Maybe that's why AgCan isn't too talkative.

    Bruce thanks so much for this update. If I didn't want the tree so badly, I'd cancel simply to show my disgust at these proprietary and marketing blunders. Your trees look wonderful, nice to see these recent pics. I sincerely hope the suit against you is quashed. So is the problem now that there are too many agencies who are licensed to export? Do you still have your worldwide permits?

    This is starting to leave a very bad taste in my mouth. And, nope, Daniel, I won't lose any sleep over having used the name Wollemi. WOLLEMI! WOLLEMI!

    Is the current (further) delay simply because it's winter...or because the trademark ruling on this case hasn't been concluded?

    God, by the time we British Columbians get our WOLLEMI WOLLEMI, the poor things will have travelled more miles than I did in the last 10 years. I want a 10.5" tree like Bruce grows -- versus the 3.5" National Geographic "special".

    Thanks for this, Bruce, and keep your chin up.
     
  9. Landscapeplants

    Landscapeplants Member

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    Thanks everyone for your support,

    The Garden Web forum certainly is an interesting read, sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and just wonder "what the hell do Birkdale Nursery think they are doing"

    BTW; The NPWS in NSW also tried to trademark the name 5 times with various differences and were unsuccessful.

    Believe it not their attorney also told us it would be illegal to import 50 copies of the book "The Wollemi Pine" by James Woodford to the USA. When I told Text Publishing in Melbourne the publisher hit the roof and a couple of days later I was informed that it would be OK to import them.

    Will my love of the Wollemia nobilis diminish...........NO

    I remember sitting in Ken Hill's office at SBG in the mid 90's and seeing his enthusiasm for the trees, he had a branch with a female seed cone on his desk and he went through the whole description with us. He also had a polished cross section of a fallen trunk about 35cm in diameter and it was quite surprising how dense and heavy it was.

    Unfortunately Ken is very ill at this time with an auto immune disease and is wheel chair bound.

    On a lighter note I recieved this photo this morning of one of my plants in the Carolinas in about 30 cm of snow.


    Best regards to all

    Bruce
     

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  10. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    My disgust was just a knee-jerk reaction from a frustrated future owner. My passion to own one is, if anything, more intense. It almost consumes my days. But I definitely don't want a seedling that's travelled twice through North America.

    I presume I'll need an AgCanada Import Permit if I choose to circumvent the current system. Could a Dinoaustral Pine breeze thru the border?
    Thanks for that Carolina pic, it's nice to see one without a steel cage around it.

    I'll apologize in advance to Daniel...but: What're 30 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? A good start.
     
  11. oscar

    oscar Active Member

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    Thats the people who tried to protect the name correct? hmmm sounds like they are motivated by greed and have no interest in the preservation and conservation work from the sales of these plants....and wow, i happen to already deal with the UK Nursery which have the rights for distribution of the wollemi pine here......i had no idea people would be so interested by this plant....i also thought the price here might of put people off, £90 each, and if i remember that's for the small size, larger plants i think were £200+

    The Uk site has them for sale now, small ones 16"-18" high £97.00
    anyway take a look at the UK site here http://www.wollemipine.co.uk/index.html
     
  12. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    Sounds like the UK had their act together...to be so far along in the process.
    And Woodford's (illegal to export, thanks to that lawyer) book is available, too.

    Somebody is responsible for this Canadian foul up. I don't think it's National Geographic. Can all the blame be heaped upon Birkdale?
     
  13. carbluesnake

    carbluesnake Active Member

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    I feel sympathy for all you Canucks. When you can't have something, it can consume us. Your time will come. I will try to put a picture out of my Wollemi, but technology bites me in the butt. I repotted mine to a larger pot for now. About the first of March, I will transplant it into my arboretum (the yard ).
     
  14. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    Yup, thanks, you're right, it can consume us.
    What type of soil mix did you use? Have you got NG's cultural instructions (from their online store, Wollemi purchase (ahem...) there's an Adobe file that goes into cultural instructions (I think it was page 8 of 20). You can just print it. I found it very interesting (not that it made up for actually having a tree...)

    What does a Wollemi frond feel like? does it feel prickly like a Norfolk Island Pine, or soft like most palms. Today I repotted my little Pachypodium lamerei (Madagascar Palm), and with 1 inch thorns, I wished I had steel gloves on.

    Got a digital camera? then you're three quarters of the way to posting a pic. There are some really good tips on this forum for posting a pic. If I can do it, you can with your hands tied and eyes shut.

    NEWS: IcanGarden.com this Sunday, Art Drysdale is going to talk about "the Wollemi issue". I don't know if it's a chat (time?), or what, but I'll be looking at the website for info.
     
  15. Landscapeplants

    Landscapeplants Member

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    Hi Folks,

    I'll try and answer a few points raised in prior postings.

    I believe that the release in Europe was handled totally differently than the North American release.

    Firstly, from what I have seen the European co-ordinator actually knew what he was doing and the quality of plants was far superior to those sent to North America.

    The blame for the North American debacle rests squarely on one persons shoulders and his ultra ego which is well known.

    The plants exported to Europe appear to have at least a two year head start on those imported to Canada and then the USA. I base this on the dozens of photographs which have been posted to various forums over the past month or so. The first photos are of what appear to be typical plants sold by NG

    Almost all the plants available are cutting grown from 75mm - 100mm sections which have been rooted, you will find that sometimes up to five new terminal growths can emerge from the top of the cutting when it roots out, before shipping these are usually cut back to one or two leaders. The top of the cutting is usually just about at soil level. When they root out they are grown in QTP's (Queensland Tree Pots) which are about a 40mm tree pot. From the lateral branch development they appear to stay in these for a full growing season before being repotted into a 140mm pot. They will stay in this pot for another season before being repotted again into the Wollem{i} pot.

    The Potting Mix we use for our plants is basically the same as we use for our cycads being 30% (by volume) course peat moss, orchid bark, perlite and 10% course #12 silica sand . We have no problen at all with this mix and find the plants develop healthy root systems very rapidly.

    On our farm in Australia the plants are watered everyday now in the summer (just remember our daily temperature range is 26-38 C) BTW we have a very similar climate to the Queensland Foresty Nursery where the plants are grown.

    How do the leaves feel, well they actually look pretty similar to a dioon cycad leaflet only a little softer, some of the leaflets can get to 6-10mm wide and 30mm long. A new growth emerges from the end of an existing leaf every year so it appears that this will give an approximate age initially to the plant. We have some which appear to have their 4th growth emerging and the leaflets are in four planes instead of the earlier growths two planes. (I'll try and take a photo of one tomorrow)

    Older plants can develop second terminal branches it seems anywhere along the stem. These will form as a bud with a white secretion and then emerge and grow very quickly, we observed one which initially grew 15cm in a week. the 3/4th photo shows one of these new terminal growths from a stem.

    It will be interesting to see what sort of growth rates can be achieved in the Canadian climate, It don't think it will be a fast grower no do I expect it to take temperatures much under -15 C but only time will tell.

    Best regards and happy growing (when you get some)

    Bruce
     

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  16. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    "before shipping these are usually cut back to one or two leaders."

    I'm partial to standards because they're so attractive with their defined canopy; but I know of Wollemi's penchant for multiple stems. Couldn't I pinch off a new bud on the stem to maintain it as a standard? On the gardenweb site, quite a few people reported their pines arrived with "cut, brownish tops".

    As to repotting, I can understand it at the nursery level. Once we get ours, can we expect they'll remain in a pot for, say, two or three years before potting up again?

    Thanks for the soil mix recipe; I've copied it onto a card for easy reference. (ahem... it's "coarse" sand, thought you'd want to know).

    Wow...26 to 38 degrees C. And I thought the Okanagan was hot!

    Re your description of how leaves extend each year, I suppose counting whorls wouldn't be reliable because of the tendency to pop buds on the stem at any time.
    That in itself seems like it would promote longevity, as damage to a top would, in a couple of years, not be evident. The new, competitive leader would either take over, or it'd be a bushy tree.

    I won't risk mine outside in a Canadian winter. It'll no doubt be happy to join my other tropicals, in a coolish room at a south window and limited watering.

    Boy, am I going to be ready for this baby when it arrives!
    Thanks for the great info!
     
  17. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Somewhat leathery, not sharp or prickly.
     
  18. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    Tks Michael; I had wondered if that "spiky" look would feel sharp or soft.
     
  19. carbluesnake

    carbluesnake Active Member

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    My Wollemi hasn't put on any new growth, so I can only comment on what growth is there. Leathery is a good description. I think that the new growth is probably soft, like a baby's bottom. As far as a potting mix goes, I have a mulch pile that is mostly llama manure. It is very rich in organic material, and has cured for about a year. Llama manure is not hot, so is fairly safe to use for anything. I know when you asked about potting mixes, you already knew the manure was going to get deep.
     
  20. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    Yup, I did. Did you add a good portion of sand to allow quick draining?
    Seems very rich despite your saying it's not a hot manure even after a year.

    I recall Landscapeplants poster, who grows them, recommending:
    "30% (by volume) coarse peat moss, orchid bark, perlite and 10% coarse #12 silica sand . We have no problen at all with this mix and find the plants develop healthy root systems very rapidly. "

    If all I've heard and read on good soil/bad soil, heat, cold, etc. ends up being true, the Wollemi Pine is THE most tolerant and adaptable of any plant ever. Hence its existence today.
    How's the "technology plan" coming along, carbluesnake?
     
  21. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    If it was true, then it wouldn't be one of the most restricted and endangered species on the planet!
     
  22. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    You're, of course, right, Michael. Silly of me to put it that way.
    I was thinking of the apparently wide range of successful cultural instructions that are available from Wollemi owners, breeders, their society. No apparent preference for a certain pH of soil, and temperatures (albeit sheltered in a canyon) that range from a blistering 38 degrees to -5 C. The isolated location where it was discovered obviously reflects optimum conditions.

    I don't think any of my other plants would be as tolerant as Wollemi seedlings are touted to be.

    I think many people expected these relics to have THE most specific requirements of any plants with which we're familiar in a home environment today. I'm encouraged that it might be fairly easy to be successful with a Wollemi.

    Reminder: Tomorrow morning (Feb.4), Art Drysdale chat on "the Wollemi Canada issue" at ICanGarden.com.
     
  23. Landscapeplants

    Landscapeplants Member

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    This is a letter which was sent to a concerned friend in Australia after she complained of the poor quality plants being exported:

    Hello Cathie,
    It is a concern to us to hear some of the initial U.S. customers were disappointed with their Wollemi and I have forwarded your email to the representative in the States. Unfortunately we do not send directly to the States due to the quarantine requirements and so far the plants destined for the U.S. have spent considerable time in Canada . There have been some issues to resolve with the U.S. market and we are working with the U.S. distributor to ensure we can supply quality plants over there. Thank-you for your email, it is valuable feedback that we can use to improve the service to a very important market to us.
    Regards,
    Peter Dutton
    Customer Service Officer
    Wollemi Australia
    Free Toll:-1800 615536
    Fax:-07 5488 1015
    _________________________
    _______________

    Particularly interesting is the reference to the plants spending a considerable amount of time in Canada

    Regards

    Bruce
     
  24. kia796

    kia796 Active Member

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    The plot thickens.

    A considerable time in Canada ???
    Yet we Canadians have gone around in circles trying to get one, particularly one that hasn't travelled thru North America a couple of times, lookin' for a home.

    May we have Peter Dutton's email address please.
     
  25. Landscapeplants

    Landscapeplants Member

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    I believe he can be reached at info@wollemipine.com

    As I have been actively importing plants from Australia to the USA for the past ten years I sit in bewilderment regarding his comment about the quarantine entering the USA. THERE IS NO QUARANTINE!!!!!!!!!!! just proving how totally inept the North American distributor is.

    Bruce
     

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