The Lone Pine in the grounds of the Australian War Memorial, being treated with a substance.

The Lone Pine in the grounds of the Australian War Memorial, being treated with a substance. Photo: Graham Tidy

No, despite the recent appearance of bright orange balls of what could be mistaken for alien fungus, the Australian War Memorial's ''lone pine'' is not under attack.

Its latest additions are, in fact, the work of arborists sent by the government to help it.

An AWM spokesman has confirmed the substance, which swells into lumps the size of softballs, is a high-tech sealant that stops organic matter and debris building up in hollows where limbs have been removed.

Once the foam, which was applied late last month, has swelled to its maximum size and cures it can be trimmed and sanded smooth. The band-aid is just one of a range of measures taken after the 78-year-old pine dropped a large limb in August.

This followed storm damage in 2008 to the tree, which was grown from a cone dropped by the famous ''Lone Pine'' at Gallipoli.

''This Aleppo pine was planted in 1934 and is one of the oldest surviving plantings in the grounds,'' AWM buildings and services head Stewart Mitchell said. ''Despite its age and this recent storm damage, the lone pine still stands strong and remains an important part of Australian heritage and commemoration.''

Other work has included the cabling of main limbs and thinning of the canopy to reduce the effects of wind.

An AWM spokesman said Lone Pine's significance arose from the fighting that occurred in early August 1915 at that position on the Gallipoli peninsula.

''On August 6 the Australian 1st Division launched a major attack against Lone Pine,'' he said. ''The Australians had given the position its name because of the single pine tree that had earlier stood there.'' Among the fallen was a soldier from the 4th Battalion. His brother went to Lone Pine shortly after its capture and sent their mother a cone from Gallipoli. Years later, the AWM acquired a sapling grown from a seed taken from the cone. In October 1934, Prince Henry, the Duke of Gloucester (and later governor-general), planted the tree in the grounds.