Australian Flora

Acacias

Acacias are better known as Wattle, and made up of around 660 different species. They vary greatly in size although have a distinctive yellow colouring. The majority of the species flower during the end of winter or the beginning of spring. The largest Arcacias is the Blackwood Wattle (Arcacias melanoxylon), which is found within the eastern and southern parts of Australia. The most common Arcacias is the Golden Wattle (Arcacias pycnantha), which is found in the South Eastern parts of Australia, as well as the hotter and drier climates. It is also the floral emblem of Australia. Inland the most common Arcacias is the Mulga Wattle (Arcacias aneura), which has a harder wood then many of the other species. It was also used to make tools and weaponry by the Aboriginal people.

Banksias (Banksia spp)

There are 76 different species of Banksia, with a total of 75 found naturally in Australia. The greatest range of Banksias are found in South Western Australia, with a number of others found within the Eastern parts of Australia. However, Banksias are generally not found within the rainforests along Australia's Eastern Coast or within the more arid regions of Australia. Banksias can survive in poor quality soils unsuitable for most other plants. The Banksias branches spread upwards, and hold spikes topped with orange, red and yellow flowers. Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820) was the first European to collect specimens of Banksias in 1770, which is where these plants got their name. The sweet nectar from Banksias, was also used by the Aboriginal people to make a drink.

Boab (Adansonia gregorii)

Boabs can only be found within the Kimberley region of Western Australia. It is found within rocky areas and has a very distinctive look. Its thick trunk holds root like branches sprouting from the top. It's real roots stay underground and can spread a distance of about 23 metres across. Boabs are relatively small in comparison to other trees found around Australia, with their height reaching upto about 20 metres.

Bunya Pine (Araucaria bidwillii)

The Bunya Pine is endemic to Queensland, Australia. The natural habitat of the Bunya Pine is within the ranges and rainforests around Brisbane and Southern Queensland. However, the Bunya Pine can grow in many places around Australia and the world.

The Bunya Pine is a large tree with a straight trunk, which can grow to around 45 metres high. It carries prickly leaves, male pine cones, and female pine cones which contain edible seeds and can weigh upto 10kg. Although the Bunya Pine only harvests cones every three years, the cones are plentiful and were traditionally used by Aborigines as a food source.

Cabbage Palms (Livistona mariae)

Cabbage Palms are unique to Central Australia, in particular the area surrounding Alice Springs. They have tall thin trunks, which can reach heights of about 30 metres, with short branches of rich green leaves sprouting from the top. These leaves were used by both the Aborigines and the European settlers. The Aborigines used them for food, while the European settlers used them to make hats.

Callistemons

Callistemons are commonly found in New South Wales, although can also be seen in various other parts of Australia. The Callistemon is also known as the Bottlebrush, and its brightly coloured petals stem out from the flower like a brush. There are about 25 different species with the most commonly found including the Crimson Bottlebrush (Callistemon citrinus), the Prickly Bottlebrush (Callistemon brachycandrus) and the Weeping Bottlebrush (Callistemon viminalis). These can vary in size from about 1 metre tall to 10 metres tall.

Coolabah (Eucalyptus microtheca)

Coolabah belongs to the Eucalypt family and can be found in the inland regions and northern Australia. They have an unusual twisted look to them and grow to about 20 metres high.

Desert Oak (Allocasuarina decaisneana)

The Desert Oaks are found in the dry desert region around Central Australia. The thin trunk of the Desert Oak holds a large bloom of branches and soft feathery leaves. The young Desert Oaks look very different to the older trees being tall and thin, rather than full and bushy.

Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus spp)

Eucalypts are one of Australia's most well known trees, and often referred to as Gum Trees. There are about 700 species of Eucalypts, which can be found all over Australia. The different species vary greatly in size and shape and require various environments to survive.

Ghost Gum (Eucalyptus papuana)

The Ghost Gum can be found in Central Australia as well as the northern parts of Australia. It's thick trunk is covered in vivid white bark, with dark green leaves clumping at the end of its branches.

Grevilleas

Grevilleas is a shrub, and 230 of the 250 different species are native to Australia. Grevilleas range in colour, although all have thin spreading petals. One of the smaller species of Grevilleas includes the Banks Grevillea (Grevillea banksii), while one of the large includes the Silky Oak Grevillea (Grevilliea robusta), which grows to about 30 metres tall.

Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos spp)

Kangaroo Paw is often seen in gardens in eastern Australia, although grows in the wild in Western Australia. The Mangle's Kangaroo Paw is actually Western Australia's floral emblem, and has traditionally been used in Aboriginal medicines. The Kangaroo Paw can be of varying colours, although all maintain the tubular flowers which have a velvet feel to them.

MacDonnell Ranges Cycad (Macrozamia macdonnelli)

MacDonnell Ranges Cycad can be found on rocky ranges and gorges. They grow extremely slowly and belong to the Cycad family. They have an unusual short trunk, which holds the females' seed cones, and the males' pollen.

Melaleucas

Melaleucas are commonly referred to as Paperbarks due to their paper like bark which peels from the trunk. The dead peeling bark enables moisture to stay within the trunk, at the same time as protecting the tree from extreme weather conditions. There are several different varieties of Melalucas with the most commonly seen being the Bracelet Honey-Myrtle (Melaleucas armillaris), Long-Leaved Paperbark (Melalucas leucadendron), and the Swamp Paperbark (Melalucas ericifolia). Melalucas have also traditionally been used by Aborigines in a water source (from within the trunk) and as a building material for various objects (the bark itself).

Mitchell Grass

Mitchell Grass can be found amongst the clay soil of northern Australia and the Top End. Its extensive root system allows it to survive in the dry season.

Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla)

The Norfolk Island Pine, is as its name suggest found only on Norfolk Island off of the New South Wales coastline. They are tall trees commonly found in parkland and lining residential streets.

Pencil Pine (Athrotaxis cupreeoides)

The Pencil Pine is a tall slim tree, which has upward growing branches. It is only found in Tasmania, and lives high up within rainforests.

River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis)

River Red Gums belong to the Eucalypt family, and are found near rivers and water systems as they require constant water. River Red Gums grow to about 40 metres high, and live for about 1000 years.

River Sheoak (Casuarina cunninghamania)

The River Sheoak belongs to the Casuarina family, and like its name suggests can be found along the riverbanks around Australia.

Saltbush

Saltbush is found in various regions over Australia, with about 30 different species in total. Saltbush is found in the dry and arid areas of Australia and is able to cope well with saline environments.

Spinifex

Spinifex is a desert grass found in the sandy soil and rocky areas of Central Australia. Spinifex grows in a ball shape, with its sharp and thin leaves sprouting outwards.

Sturt's Desert Pea (Clianthus formosus)

Sturt's Desert Pea has bright red petals, which stem from a small pea shaped black ball at the bottom of the petal. It can be found in the dry inland areas of Australia and is South Australia's floral emblem. Sturt's Desert Pea is an annual flower, which blooms after heavy rain.

Tree Ferns

There are two types of Tree Fern, including the Rough Tree Fern (Cyathea spp) and the Soft Tree Fern (Dicksonia antarctica). Tree Ferns can be found in the rainforests of eastern Australia and can grow to heights of about 20 metres. The thick trunks are topped with long green ferns, which spread over the top of the tree like an umbrella.

Waratah (Telopea speciosissima)

The Waratah is found in New South Wales and Victoria, and is actually the floral emblem of New South Wales. The Waratah has a distinctive red flower, which can be 'sen from afar' (as the name Telopea suggests).

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