Southeast Australian Eucalyptus Forests of Great Dividing Range

These forests are dominated by various cold-adapted Eucalyptus species including E. dalrymplean, E. oblique, E. ovata, E. pauciflora, E. stellulata and the endemic E. andrewsii, E. caliginosa, E. campanulata, E. eugenioides, E. glaucescens, E. laeopinea, E. ligustrina, E. macrorhyncha, E. moorei, E. novo-anglica and E. youmanii (Myrtaceae). Some can be found throughout the range while others are concentrated into certain areas. The main factors influencing these distributions seem to be frost intensity, mean annual rainfall, soil fertility and levels of soil water logging. The shrub layers vary and tend to be poorly developed. In the Northern Tablelands in Eucalypus pauciflora forest they include Acacia melanoxylon, Tasmannnia lanceolata and the endemic Gaultheria appressa (Ericaceae). In Eucalypus obliqua forest there is a discontinuous shrub layer comprising Hakea eriantha, Leucopogon lanceolatus, Olearia nerstii and the endemic Senecio linearifolius (Asteraceae), while in Eucalypus youmannii forest the main species are Acacia pruinosa, Brachyloma daphnoides, Dillwynia sericea, Dodonaea viscosa, Lissanthe strigosa, Melichrus urceolaris, Monotoca scoparia, Olearia microphylla and the endemic of near endemic Correa reflexa (Rutaceae). In Eucalypus ovata forests in the Southern Tablelands there is a discontinuous layer of tall shrubs with species like Acacia pycnantha, Banksia marginata, Bursaria spinosa and Casuarina stricta. In coastal areas these forest also include various endemic eucalypts such as Eucalypus crenulata, E. negecta and E. yarraensis as underlayer species. The herbaceous layers of these forests also vary from site to site but may include grasses such as Danthonia nudiflora and Poa hiemata and the endemic forb Celmisia longifolia (Asteraceae).

Southeast Australian Eucalyptus Forests of the Southeastern Coastal Zone
These forests comprise various local dominants, which vary with latitude. They include Eucalyptus acmenoides, E. baileyana, E. bancroftii, E. gummifera, E. intermedia, E. nigra, E. planchoniana, E. racemosa and E. signata. The soils in this zone tend to be of low fertility and this is reflected in the under story species, which mainly comprise xeromorphic elements. The shrub layer assemblage varies but may include Alphitonia excelsa, Bossiaea rhombifolia, Lambertia formosa, Persoonia cornifolia, Tristania conferta and endemic species like Banksia asplenifolia and Isopogon anemonifolius (Proteaceae). Herbs and dwarf shrubs form a varied and often discontinuous layer and may include Alloteropsis semialata, Caustis blakei, Dampiera stricta, Fimbristylis dichotoma, Haemadorum planifolia, Hypoxis glabella, Lepidosperma laterale, Stylidium graminifolium, Themeda australis and the endemic Xanthorrhoea macromema (Xanthorrhoeaceae). The flora of these forests, however, is of major significance since its represents the largest assemblage of xeromorphic species in the east. Most of the plant genera are endemic to Australia and there are a number of noteworthy local endemics such as Atkinsonia ligustrina (Loranthaceae) a root parasite confined to the Blue Mountains and the giant ‘gymea lily’ Doryanthes excelsa (Doryanthaceae) confined to the coast north and south of Sidney. Gymosperms are represented by Macrozamia secunda in the Blue Mountains and Macrozamia communis and M. spiralis on the coast. Podocarpus spinulosa occurs in valleys and the endemic Callitris muelleri (Cupressaceae) is relatively widespread.  Pteridophytes are also well represented especially by primitive genera such as Leptopteris, Lycopodium, Psilotum, Selaginella, Schizaea and Todea.


Southeast Australian Ironbark Forest

Ironbarks are eucalypts distinguished by their rough, deeply furrowed, dark-coloured bark. In the southeast these forests are mainly confined to Victoria or areas west of the Great Divide. The main species is usually Eucalyptus sideroxylon. It often occurs in pure stands but in shallow soils Eucalyptus dealbata may become co-dominant. Callitris glauca and the endemic C. endlicheri (Cupressaceae) may also be conspicuous. Small trees and tall shrubs typically include Acacia doratoxylon, Angophora floribunda, Brachychiton populeum, Casuarina stricta, Exocarpus cupressiformis, Eucarya acuminata, Pittosporum phyliraeoides and the endemic Acacia baileyana (Fabaceae). This latter species is confined to the Cootamundra-Temora areas. Pandorea pandorana and Parsonia eucalyptiphylla are two of the main liana species but are mainly confined to rocky terrains. Shrubs grow up to about 2 m tall and usually form a continuous layer. Common species are Acacia buxifolia, Brachyloma daphnoides and a variety of endemic taxa such as Dillwynia floribunda (Fabaceae), Hibbertia linearis (Dilleniaceae), Lithospermum parvifolium and Melaleuca erubescens (Myrtaceae). The herbaceous layer, however, is usually poorly developed but still supports a rich variety of species. These include Amphipogon strictus, Aristida ramosa, Danthonia pallida, Eragrostis lacunaria, Paspalidium gracile and Stipa verticillata. Also encountered is the interesting Macrozamia spiralis, and a variety of delicate members of the Droseraceae and Orchidaceae that usually occur in small soaks.


Southeast Australian Banksia Dune Heaths

Heath dominated by species of Banksia extends all along the southeast coast. They are mainly confined to coastal sand but occasionally extend inland usually adjoining Eucalypus forest. The main species are Banksia marginata, B. robur, B. serratifolia and the endemic B. asplenifolia and B. ericifolia (Proteaceae). Banksia marginata is the only species of Banksia found in Tasmania. Heath dominated by Banksia ericifolia extends from the Richmond River south to central New South Wales. It often forms pure stands up to 3 m tall, but occasionally forms associations with other species such as as Casuarina distyla, Cyathochaeta diandra, Hakea teretifolia, Phebalium squameum and the endemic Banksia spinulosa (Proteaceae) and Callistomon citrinus (Myrtaceae). Bankia asplenifolia heath extends from the northern boundary of New South Wales to the sandstones around Sydney. However, it only dominates in patches that are often separated by stretches of sedge-heath. Other associated shrubs include Banksia serratifolia, Leptospermum flavescens and Strangea linearis. There is usually an under storey of dwarf shrubs such as Boronia falcifolia, Eriostemon lanceolatus, Sprengelia sprengelioides and the endemic Epacris microphylla (Epacridaceae). Herbaceous species may include Leptocarpus tenax, Lepyrodia scariosa and Xanthorrhoea media.


Southeast Australian Rocky Heaths

On exposed coastal headlands Casuarina littoralis and the endemic Banksia asplenifolia (Proteaceae) often dominate. They grow to about 50 cm in height but with emergent patches reaching 2 m. Dodonaea triquetra, Hakea teretifolia, Lambertia formosa, Kunzea capitata, Melaleuca nodosa and Ricinocarpus pinifolius can also form local dominants. Less common shrubs are Acacia suaveolens, Persoonia lanceolata, Philotheca salsolifolia, Phyllanthus thymoides, Pimelea linifolia, Xanthosia pilosa and the endemic Isopogon anemonifolius (Proteaceae). In less expose areas where there is some protection from the wind Casuarina distyla and Jacksonia stackhousii become the two main species. Here there is usually a discontinuous lower shrub layer with species like Cryptandra amara, Lomatia silaifolia and the endemic Epacris pulchella (Epacridaceae). On more inland rocky exposures such as the Triassic sandstone of central New South Wales the heath and scrub communities are extremely varied and many associations can be distinguished. However, the most extensive communities are dominated by Casuarina species such as the endemic Casuarina nana (Casuarinaceae). This species dominates extensive heaths in the Blue Mountains and on the Wingecarrabie Tableland. They rarely exceed about 1 m in height but on deeper soils various taller species may occur such as Hakea dactyloides and the endemic Petrophile fucifolia (Proteaceae). Common herbs include Goodenia bellidifolia, Patersonia sericea and the endemic Sowerbaea juncea (Liliaceae). In some of the wetter areas, shrubs such as Bauera rubioides and the endemic Callistemon linearis, Leptospermum arachnoides (Myrtaceae) and Dracophyllum secundum (Epacridaceae) become more conspicuous. These sandstones also support mosaics of herbaceous vegetation with species such as Dianella coerulea, Lepyrodia scariosa and Ptilanthelium deustum. Shrubs such as Leptospermum squarrosum and a variety of endemic species such as Darwinia fascicularis (Myrtaceae) and Leucopogon microphylla (Epacridaceae) may be sporadically distributed throughout these herbaceous areas.


Southeast Australian Bogs (Mosslands)

These are largely dominated by hummock forming mosses mainly species of Sphagnum, Blindia or Bryum, but with two landforms, valley bog and raised bog, recognized. The former develops under very wet conditions supports mosses and herbs, while the latter may also include shrubs. In Kosciusko, the main valley bog type is characterized by Carex gaudichaudiana and Sphagnum cristatum and both species are strongly indicative of acidic condition. Raised bogs, such as in the Bogong high plains of Victoria or in the Kosciusko area are characterized by Blindia robusta and Sphagnum cristatum, Epacris paludosa and the endemic Epacris breviflora (Epacridaceae). Typical shrubs include Epacris serpyllifolia and endemic species such as Callistemon sieberi (Myrtaceae), Leptospermum arachnoides (Myrtaceae) and Richea continentis (Ericaceae), while common herbs include Deyeuxia gunniana and Restio australis.


Southeast Australian Fjellfields (Feldmark)

Terms like fjell or feldmark are usually used to describe open sub glacial communities of dwarf flowering plants, mosses and lichens typically dominated by dwarf prostrate plants with a cushion or mat habit. Precipitation in these areas is usually high. However, this is not reflected in the plants since most of the water falls as snow and this is often blown away in the more exposed areas, while most water from melting snow or rain is shed as surface runoff or drains through the fragmented substratum. On the Kosciusko plateau the dominant species include Chionohebe densifolia, Epacris petrophila and the endemic Colobanthus nivicola (Caryophyllaceae), Epacris microphylla (Epacridaceae) and Veronica densiflora (Scrophulariaceae). However, a series of communities can be distinguished in relation to decreasing exposure. In the most exposed situations, non-vascular plants dominate particularly lichens, but with decreasing severity the vegetation ranges from scattered vascular plants to so-called cushion mosaics. Among the vascular plants other characteristic species include Ewartia nubigena, Helipterum albicans, Luzula oldfieldii. Erythranthera pumila, Coprosma pumila and a variety of endemic taxa such as Euphrasia collina subsp. lapidosa (Orobanchaceae), Ranunculus anemoneus and R. muelleri (Ranunculaceae). On some sites there is upwind erosion and downwind regeneration of these vegetative clumps resulting in a slow migration in the direction of the prevailing wind with rates of movement up to 1 cm per year in some cases.

Southeast Australian Alpine Herbfields

Herb fields, which often have striking colour and variety, are the climatic climax over a wide range of mountain geologies including basalt, granite, sandstone and slate, but the influence of the underlying geology on species composition can be relatively low. In the Kosciusko, they can be broadly divided into short and tall herbfields. Some of the most specialists of the short herb alliances include Neopaxia australasica, Plantago glacialis and the endemic Caltha introloba (Ranunulaceae), together with various other dwarf, mat-forming and creeping species. They mostly occur in areas of semi-permanent snow patches. During the short snow-free season snowmelt water occurs in abundance and is relatively rich in nutrients due to dust settling on snow and from the underlying eroded rock debris. Other endemic species characteristic of these short herb fields include Abrotanella nivigena (Asteraceae), Brachycome stolonifera (Asteraceae), Dichosciadium ranunculaceum (Apiaceae), Erigeron setosus (Asteraceae), Luzula acutifolia subsp. nana (Juncaceae), Oreomyrrhis pulvinifica (Apiaceae), Parantennaria uniceps (Asteraceae) and Ranunculus niphophilus (Ranunculaceae).  Tall herb fields are more typical of areas where there is no persistent snow cover or exposure to strong winds. The most important formation is characterized by species of Celmisia, such as the endemic Celmisia longifolia (Asteraceae), but other important taxa include Euphrasia collina subsp. diversicolor, Helipterum albicans and the endemic Aciphylla glacialis (Apiaceae), Chionochloa frigida (Poaceae) and Ranunculus anemoneus (Ranunculaceae).

Further information required.



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