Australian Natives

Australia has one of the largest and most diverse range of indigenous plants in the world, that included plants suited cultivation in almost any part of the world.
Many natives have evolved to withstand harsh conditions.
Some species are tolerant of saline conditions, some to arid conditions, some make excellent windbreaks, some withstand pollution, others tolerate flooding and more.





It is important to remember that the natives that come from your own area have evolved to cope, even thrive under those local conditions.

Read more below

 


 

DISTANCE EDUCATION COURSES

ACS offers 100 hour courses including the following. Click on a course for more information.
Australian Natives I

Australian Natives II

Acacias

Australian Native Trees

Australian Native Ferns

Eucalypts

Growing Grevilleas

See a Sample from course materials below

 


 

 

VIDEO produced by Australian Correspondence Schools

Click on a video for more information or to order a copy

Australian Native Flowering Plants

 


 
WHY GROW AUSTRALIAN PLANTS

 

An extract from the book Growing Australian Native Plants by John Mason (click here to order) 

There are a number of reasons that make Australian Natives worth growing.  There is an enormous variety of Australian natives (at least 20,000 species e.g. About 700 species of Acacias, over 500 species of Eucalypts just to mention two genera). There are native plants for just about any situation from deserts, to rainforests, to alpine regions.

 

Many Australian natives have extremely attractive flowers, fruit, foliage or habit, often unlike anything found in plants of other continents. A large percentage of the plants native to Australia are endemic‑that is they do not occur anywhere else in the world. By growing natives we can help ensure that these species are preserved. The flora and fauna of Australia have evolved together over long periods of time.

By growing Australian natives we encourage the survival of native fauna.

Many Australian native plants are new to the world of gardening. Those which have been grown are mostly so new to cultivation that we are still learning how to grow them properly. Unlike plants from some other countries, relatively few Australian plant species have yet undergone extensive plant breeding or plant selection programs. We are still often working with the raw material from the bush whereas plants such as the camellias & roses have been grown, hybridized & generally studied for hundreds of years. There are still a lot of horticulturally valuable species which haven't even been collected from the wild as yet. There are a few notable exceptions, however, such as the Kangaroo Paws (Anigozanthos sp.) and the Christmas Bells (Blandfordia sp.) which have been the focus of breeding and selection programs over the last few years.

THREE TYPES OF NATIVE FLORA

Australian native plants can be divided into three main groups....

*INDO MELASIAN (Or ASIAN) FLORA

 Plants evolved from species originating in south‑east Asia. These are typified by plants from tropical or sub‑tropical rainforests in the north of the continent.

*ANTARCTIC FLORA

 Plants which have evolved from species present when the Australian continent was linked with what is  now Antarctica. These plants are typified by broad‑leaved deciduous and evergreen species such as beeches, sassafras, conifers & other plants from southern (cold climate) rainforests. Many of these plants have affinities with species in New Zealand, South America and South Africa.

 

*SCLEROPHYLL FLORA

 Typified by Eucalypt forests & woodlands, these plants clearly evolved inside Australia. They are more  widespread than the other two types, dominating the majority of the continent, particularly in the more arid and semi‑arid regions.

 

 


 

SAMPLE LESSON NOTES FROM ACS DISTANCE EDUCATION COURSE ON EUCALYPTS:

 

Lesson 3.

                                                 EUCALYPTUS

 

LESSON AIM

Explain the identification and culture of eucalypts in your locality.

 

Eucalypts are the most conspicuous form of native Australian vegetation making up almost ninety percent of Australian native trees and appearing throughout the entire continent in many variable forms.Species have adapted to suit the environments in which they live, from desert plains to wetlands and mountainous regions and are synonymous with the Australian landscape.

 

Brief summary of this Genus:

Number of species: Approx. 600, almost all Australian.

Natural habitat: All situations in all states.

Flowering time: Varies greatly.

Hardiness: Generally very hardy.

Habit:Mainly trees, some shrubs.

Foliage: Tough, leathery, undivided leaves, often aromatic.

Lifespan: Generally long lived.

Growth: Fast to very fast.

Comments: Includes some of our most important commercial (ie: timber) and ornamental tree species.

 

 

 

SET READING

Read from Native Plant Notes ‑ section on Eucalyptus.

 

Read any sections on Eucalyptus in your other text.

 

SET TASK

 1. Look in the front section of your telephone book under 'Government' for the departments which would be concerned with growing or protecting trees...

Example:

Forestry Department

Ministry for Conservation

National Parks

Botanic Garden ...etc.

 

These departments are a valuable source of information. They publish books, booklets and leaflets on both native flora and fauna etc. Contact these departments (Head Office if you are in a city, or a regional office if you are in a country area). Obtain all of the information you can about Eucalypts which are native to your state or region. If you live near a national park, visit the park and discuss the Eucalypts growing in that park with the ranger. Ask questions such as the following ones:

‑What Eucalypts grow in this area?

‑Are any of these species commercially valuable for timber?

-How can you tell these species apart?

‑In what sorts of situations do the particular species grow (eg. along watercourses, in open grassland, on stony ridges, in protected valleys, etc?


Further information can be gathered through university libraries.

Overseas students should research the above questions then choose species that are grown throughout different regions with varying geographical identities (ie: mountains, deserts wetlands) of Australia. Identify the species growing in each region.

‑Are any of these species commercially valuable for timber?

-How can you tell these species apart?

‑In what sorts of situations do the particular species grow (eg. along watercourses, in open grassland, on stony ridges, in protected valleys, etc?

 

 

2. Find a site where there is a requirement to plant Eucalypts.

(This might be a farm, park, home garden, tree plantation, etc).

Develop a list of appropriate Eucalypts for this area by the following process:

a/ Determine the things that will influence what should be planted. You might do this by interviewing property owner. You should consider, soil, climate, finance and manpower available, likely pests, etc.

 b/ Develop a list of criteria for selecting eucalypts which may be suitable for the situation (eg. Must tolerate strong wind, must resist salinity, etc).

 c/ Select 25 different plant varieties which fulfil the criteria you established.

 ASSIGNMENT

1.  Describe step by step everything you need to do to grow a eucalypt from seed into a healthy plant over a ten year period. Write approximately 2 to 3 pages in point form. You should explain how to propagate it, how to plant it, how to protect it and care for it year by year.

2. Differentiate between the major types of Eucalypts including:

*Gums*Stringybarks*Mallees*Boxes*Messmates

(Use illustrations if you wish. You only need to submit around half a page.)

3. Write a report summarising your set task and including:

-Pre planning information (eg. conditions on the site such as soil, weather, pests)

-Criteria for selecting eucalypts for that site

-List of 25 species selected.

Briefly summarise the identification and cultural characteristics of any of these eucalypt species.

4. Prepare a planting design, drawn to scale, for the site you investigated in your set task. (a suitable scale would be 1:100; or 1 cm = 1 metre.

 5. Prepare a plan for implementing the planting design. This should include:

*A list of quantities of materials required (eg. plants, fertiliser stakes...etc)

*An estimate of costs of materials

*A list of equipment required (eg. tools, machines)

*An estimate of labour requirement.

REMEMBER TO ALSO SUBMIT YOUR PLANT REVIEW SHEETS FOR THIS LESSON