Fencing in a tree might seem like a strange thing to do, even in the United Kingdom's Kew Gardens -- but this is no ordinary tree. It's a Wollemi pine, a rare plant that grew among the dinosaurs. Long thought to have gone extinct, a small stand of the trees was discovered in 1994 by a national parks and wildlife officer in Australia's Blue Mountains. Today, scientists know of fewer than 100 mature trees in the wild. Wollemi Pine International, a nonprofit, devised an unusual scheme to conserve the threatened trees and boost their numbers in the wild: sell Wollemi saplings propagated from seeds and cuttings of the wild stand. They thrive outdoors, but consider keeping one in a sunlit room inside (for Christmas!): the family of trees that the ancient pine belongs to is especially efficient at removing toxins from indoor air.

Story by Alisa Opar. This article originally appeared in Plenty in January 2008. The story was added to MNN.com.

Copyright Environ Press 2008