Flora of Australia
Occupying close to 3 million square miles with a population of about 22 million, Australia is the third least densely populated country in the world. In terms of flora, Australia has many types that are unique to the country as well as other types that can be found in other countries. It’s estimated there are over 14,000 types of non-vascular plants, 20,000 types of vascular plants, 250,000 species of fungi, and over 3,000 types of lichens alive on Australia.
Among the vascular plant species are angiosperms, spore-bearing ferns, and “seed-bearing non-angiosperms.” Only 11% of these plants are naturalized. This means that they are brought over from other lands. The rest are all native species. Australia’s angiosperms include a very large number of species. It has 800 different types of orchids. Many of the plants found on the east coast of Australia are not found in other areas. Other types of angiosperm include button grass and other types of grasses, grass trees, screw palms as well as “kangaroo paws.”
Dicots are the most diverse group of angiosperms in Australia. They come from three families: the Myrtaceae, the Fabaceae, and the Proteaceae. The Myrtaceae family includes gum tree species, lillipillies, and other water-loving flora as well shrubs known as teatrees. Australia also has over 51,000 kilometers of seagrass meadows.
Non-angiosperms in Australia are very different. They include the conifers and the cycads. There are 69 different species of cycads spread out across Australia’s forests. There are 43 different species of native pine trees including the endemic Tasmanian Huon pine tree. As for conifers, Australian scientists recently discovered a new type – the Wollemi pine.
Australia also has a large number of vascular plants like ferns. They are very abundant in areas where Australia gets a high level of rainfall. There are 390 species of ferns in Australia including horsetails, psilophytes, and lycophytes. They do well in the cool and damn environment of Australia’s tropical regions.
Australia also has a very diverse native algae population. The algae inhabit both the saltwater and freshwater areas of Australia. There are somewhere between 10,000 and 12,000 species of algae identified with many more species still undocumented, especially in Northern Australia. On the other hand, Australia only has around 1,000 species of moss but over 800 species of liver and horn warts.
The country also has its share of fungi and lichens. Like Australia’s algae, there is still a large chunk of fungi in Australia that has gone undocumented. It’s estimated that there are over 250,000 species identified and scientists estimate that’s only about 5% of their total algae population. In terms of lichens, there are currently 3,238 different species of lichens of which only 34% are endemic.
- Flora Of Australia Online
- Extended Flora Glossary
- Current Census Of Southern Australian Flora
- Non-Vascular Plants: An Overview
- Introduction To Vascular Plants
- Non-Vascular Plants: History And Habits
- Types Of Flora
- Plant Viruses In Australia
- Australian Native Plants Society
- Australian Flora
- Heath Banksia
- Algae Of Australia
- Australian Fungi Map
- Kangaroo Paws
Australia’s flora is truly fascinating. If you are wondering what plants to put in your summerhouses, going Australian may be a good idea.
- abscission: a plant's normal shedding when it has matured
- aculeate: prickly
- axis: plant's stem
- bifid: divided in half, usually by two parts
- bilocular: possessing two separate cavities
- bulb: plant's storage organ
- calyx: the sepals (parts) of one flower together
- caudate: possessing a narrow tail-like appendage
- chartaceous: papery
- keeled: relating to leaves that are folded and ridged along a midrib
- nocturnal: flowers that open at night
- papilla: elongated protuberance from the surface of a plant's organ
- reflexed: sharply bent downwards or backwards
- retuse: having a blunt, notched apex
- testa: plant's seed coat
- vein: strand of vascular tissue in plants