northern Victoria and the Southern Riverina
Annotated List of Indigenous Plants
suitable for plantations and garden cultivation
This page lists and describes some of the many plants indigenous to northern Victoria and the southern Riverina. The list on the Whipstick page has been supplemented with plants found north of Bendigo into the southern Riverina of NSW.
Residents of the area are urged to include at least some local plants in their garden or on their farm.
Many of the plants listed grow well outside of the region. Some grow too well outside the region! Some Melaleucas, for example, have become a problem in places such as the Florida Everglades in the United States of America. And some eucalypts have become a problem in other places.
By planting plants of your own region we
are providing a habitat for native birds and insects, and maintaining
something of the character of your region. This is particularly
important on farmland and near bushland. By 'planting local'
we are also helping maintain the balance of nature.
indigenous to your area are usually resistant to local insect pests and may therefore
be easier to grow. Furthermore, local plants cannot become garden
escapes, environmental weeds, which may be costly to remove from
riversides and bushland. Some introduced plants, even some from
other parts of Australia, can become environmental weeds or may
demand precious water and fertilisers. Growing indigenous plants
helps conserve biological diversity. Most urban gardens consist
almost entirely of non-local plants: continue to grow attractive
introduced and non-local plants by all means, avoiding plants which might become garden escapes (weeds), but consider changing
the blend to include at least some plants of your local area.
As far as farm plantations, bushland reserves and roadside plantations are concerned, there is a strong case for only planting indigenous plants.
Cooba (Acacia salacina) is ideal as a street (nature strip) tree.
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Starting with some of the smaller wattles, here are just a few of the outstanding plants which grow in northern Victoria an/or the southern Riverina
and which are suitable for cultivation. Common names vary so it may be wise to use the scientific (botanical) name when ordering or looking for these plants. Many of the following plants grow in the arboretum alongside the Koyuga Hall, in Deniliquin's Blake Reserve and in the arboretum alongside the Cobb Highway (B75) near the northern entrance to Gulpa Island.
Wattle Acacia acinacea (Height 2 metres; width 2 metres)
Light tip pruning helps prevent the plant from getting 'woody'. A good garden plant. Dwarf forms are available in some nurseries. The Yorta Yorta name for Gold-dust Wattle is Gitjugo.
• Rough Wattle Acacia aspera (2m by 2m). Masses of yellow balls in Spring.
• Ausfield's Wattle Acacia ausfieldii (3m by 2m). This is a lovely wattle but it is sparse, prefers gravelly soils, semi-shade and protection from wind.
Wattle Acacia flexifolia (2m by 2m)
Pale lemon flower balls cover the plant in late Winter and/or early Spring. Very common in parts of the Wellsford Forest north-east of Bendigo.
• Western Black Wattle Acacia hakeoides (3m by 4m). This is a long-lived hardy wattle suitable for windbreaks on loams and clays. It can be grown in the home garden but constant very light pruning is recommended to help prevent woodiness. More common north of the Murray River.
• Mallee Wattle Acacia montana (2m by 2m). Mallee Wattle forms a dense shrub with bright yellow flowers from late Winter. It is widely available from native nurseries and is a good plant for a wide garden bed. Like many wattles that flower prolifically, this wattle is relatively short-lived.
• Miljee (aka Umbrella Wattle) Acacia oswaldii (3m by 3m). This is a relatively short-trunked shrub with an umbrella shaped. Suitable for all soils and for inclusion in roadside plantings.
• Hedge Wattle Acacia paradoxa (2m by 2m). Originally found north of the Great Dividing Range, this wattle has become somewhat of a pest further south. As a result, it is not often planted in its home territory, a region in which it is not likely to become a pest. In the Echuca region, it should be included in plantations/shelter belts.
• Golden Wattle Acacia pycnantha (4m by 2m). This hardy wattle is Australia's floral emblem. Bright golden balls cover the plant in late Winter. As it is a small tree, avoid planting close to a fence or house. It often grows alongside creek lines and roadsides. The Yorta Yorta name for Golden Wattle is Ganga.
• Cooba OR Native Willow Acacia salacina. This tall shrub is a long-lived wattle. See below under "trees".
Wattle Acacia williamsonii (2m by 3m)
This wattle grows in the wild only in and near the Whipstick. It is prolific in much of the eastern half of the Kamarooka section of the Greater Bendigo National Park but has been adversely impacted upon by prolonged drought conditions. Grows well in local home gardens.
• Old Man Saltbush Atriplex nummularia (2.5 m by 5m).
A dense spreading shrub suitable to most soil types, Old Man Saltbush is used by many sheep farmers for
fodder. It can and should be included in shelter belts, providing an ornamental colour contrast.
It is rarely grown as a garden plant. But I have found it to be quite a good screening plant. A few decades ago, I purchased a tiny one that was growing in a tube and planted it in the back garden. As the picture shows, it is now about two metres high and has spread across the back garden, making it a good screening plant. It hides my back fence.
A bonus is that the leaves are edible, albeit salty, and can be added to a salad. A branchlet can even be fried on the barbeque!
But admittedly not the sort of plant for a front garden and it can take over the back garden.
Saltbush tolerates heavy soils and salty soils. Once established,
it is tough as nails. Its silver foliage provides contrast and it is fire retardant which is just as well as the neighbours often cook on the barbeque on their side of the fence.
• Silver Banksia Banksia marginata (4 to 10m by 2 to 4m). This attractive plant has large cream bottle-brush like flowers over a long period. It seems to prefer sandy soils and struggles during extended dry periods.
• Sticky Boronia Boronia anemonifolia (2m by 2m). The flowers of this boronia are pink stars rather than brown balls.It is much better able to withstand our climate than the Brown Boronia of Western Australia.
Sweet Bursaria Bursaria spinosa ((3m by 2m)
Also known as Native Boxthorn, this thorny shrub attracts butterflies and wasps and protects small birds. The wasps eat, and help control outbreaks of, Red-legged Mites. In summer, Sweet Bursaria has small white flowers which have a pleasant perfume. Its leaves have been used in lieu of soap. Suitable for garden cultivation.
• Common Fringe-myrtle Calytrix tetragona (2m by 1m). Favouring sandy soil, this erect shrub has small white and pink flowers over a long period. It is ideal for the home garden and readily available in most local plant nurseries.
• Nitre Goosefoot Chenopodium nitratiaceum (2m by 2m) Favouring clay soils, this grey shrub is oftgen the dominant shrub. Itg can withstand inundation and is drought-tolerant. It is often found with Lignum.
• Rock Correa Correa glabra (2m by 2m). Often growing at the base of rocky outcrops, this small shrub bears green bells over Summer. The form growing at the base of Mt. Terrick Terrick (Corea glabra var. glabra) is unique insofar as flowers of different colour form may be observed on the same plant. The Terricks form is sparser and differs in appearance from forms found elsewhere. Correas like well-drained soils and can be grown in large pots.
• Crowea Crowea exalata (1m by 1m). What an excellent plant this is for a small garden or rockery. It has pink orchid-like flowers and narrow, waxy, leaves.
• Hop Bush Dodonaea viscosa (3m by 2m). There are wide and narrow-leafed varieties of this species which bears red or brown hops over Summer. The wedge-leafed sub-species is smaller and readily available in many nurseries. It is a hardy plant and tolerates clay soils. It is a very common plant in much of the inland. Many graziers do not like it because it is not palatable to stock and can take over grazing land. Once a few are established in local home gardens, this plant is self-seeding. Worthy of a place in indigenous plant gardens.
• Berrigan Emu Bush Eremophila longifolia (4m by 4m). This shrub prefers sandy loam. It has drooping branches and red tubular flowers. It is suitable for inclusion in farm plantations. It is no longer common over much of the region although old specimens linger in places like Echuca cemetery and on some ridges in Barmah-Millewa Forest. Various species of Eremophila are found in inland areas of Australia. Many varieties of Eremophila are available in nurseries. Eremophilas deserve to be more frequently used as decorative home garden plants.
Common Eutaxia/ Parrot Pea Eutaxia microphylla (1m high; spreading)
Similar to Daviesia, Dillwinia and Pultenaea, this low shrub bears yellow and red pea-like flowers during Spring. Quite a good garden plant. One sub-species, diffusa, is a particularly good garden plant.
Dwarf Native Cherry Ballart Exocarpus stricta (2m high; spreading)
The species of Exocarpus that grows in River Red Gum forests along the Murray and some of its tributaries differs from the highlands specdies insoar as the trunk is not evident. Nurseries have found this attractive, bushy, semi-parasitic plant very difficult to propogate and it is rarely seen in gardens. This plant needs a host plant, at least whilst it is young. The seed is on the outside of the small fruit, hence the name exocarpus. The Yorta Yorta name for Dwarf Native Cherry is Bartja.
Cat's Claws Grevillea alpina (1m by 1m)
Of the 500 or so species of Grevillea (over 1,000 if you include named cultivars and hybrids), not one grows naturally within many kiilometres of Echuca-Moama. Cat's Claw or Grevillea alpina is reasonably common in the Warby Range, in the Whipstick, in the Grampians (according to a Grevillea expert, a specimen growing near the summit of Mt. William was described and named by Major Mitchell, hence the name alpina: it actually dislikes alpline conditions) and in sandy mallee country. Suitable for garden or pot. Many forms or sub-species are available. Good drainage essential. Do not over-water over summer. This species dislikes riverine plains and is only found in the wild at edges of this region. In fact, .
• Needlewood Hakea decurrens (3m by 2m). Needlewood, as its name suggests, has spiky leaves which make it ideal for placers where people may cut corners. Youngsters who dive in to retrieve a ball will exit backwards at a fast pace! The spider-like cream flowers appear early in Spring. Hardy once established. It is common at the base of One Tree Hill and in less-disturbed parts of the park.
• Austral Indigo Indigofera australia (2m by 2m). An open shrub with grey-green leaflets and pink pea-like flowers from mid Winter.
Bush Lasiopetalum behrii (2m by 2m)
• Whipstick Tea Tree Leptospermum myrsinoides (2m by 2m). This Tea Tree has masses of white flowers in Spring. It can be used as a hedge.
• Totem Poles (aka Cross-leaf Honey-myrtle) Melaleuca decussata (2m by 3m). As tough as. This dense shrub is suitable as a hedge or windbreak. It bears mauve totem-pole like flowers during Summer. Common in much of the Whipstick Forest.
Honey Myrtle Melaleuca uncinata (3m by 3m). This hardy shrub can withstand some salinity and flooding. Common in parts of the Whipstick Forest.
Wilson's (aka Violet) Honey
Myrtle Melaleuca wilsonii (2m by 3m). This shrub bears violet bottlebrush-like flowers late in Spring. It is a very shrub for local gardens. Drought tolerant and can withstand some flooding. Common in parts of the Whipstick Forest.
• Water Bush Myoporum montanum (3m by 8m). This wide bushy shrub has small white flowers for much of the year, followed by oval-shaped beries which turn purple. One patch of it is on Machonicies Ridge in Barmah Forest.
Bendigo Wax Philotheca verrucosa (1.5m by 1.5m). Formerly known as Eriostemon verrucosa, Bendigo Wax ~ a plant of the Whipstikck Forest ~ has waned in popularity over recent years, possibly because it has proved hard to establish in the garden. Hardy when established, but constant light pruning is recommended to maintain bushiness. It flowers for a long period and the flowers last well in a vase of water.
Bush Prostanthera aspalathoides (1m by 1m). This small shrub is very attractive when in flower over Spring. Unlike most Mint Bushes, this species tolerates dry periods well. Reasonably common in the forests of Central Victoria.
Bush Prostanthera denticulata (1m by 1m). This small shrub has mauve flowers over Spring. Unlike most Mint Bushes, this species tolerates dry periods well. Another plant of the Box-Ironbark forests of Central Victoria.
Cassia (aka Punty Bush) Senna artemisioides ssp. zygophylla; formerly called Cassia eremophylla)(3m by 3m) Senna may be mistaken for a wattle because yellow
flowers cover it in Spring. But the flowers are larger and of
a different shape. Seed pods cover the plant after flowering. A hardy, compact shrub, it grows to a metre
or so in height and width. It can be lightly pruned. Water young plants
a few times at increasing intervals. Very hardy once established.
Westringia (Rare) Westringia crassifolia(1m by 1m). This tiny shrub is rare and efforts are underway to help protect it in the Bendigo region. In place near Bendigo, both on public and private land, substantial fences have been constructed to protect it from grazing animals and vehicles. It may be grown as a rockery plant.
To help identify trees of the region, a pocket guide by Leon Costermans, Trees of Victoria and Adjoining Areas, is a terrific guide.
Some of the trees which grow in Greater Bendigo National Park are listed below. Height and width may vary greatly from the dimensions given, according to soil type, aspect and other factors.
The most common Eucalypt along the Murray River and its tributaries is the River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis). This large tree is, however, not suitable for home gardens or parks. Red Gum trees grow in areas subject to inundation. Box Trees are also common in northern Victoria and southern NSW. Black Box grows in areas that may flood for short periods. The black stems extend all the way to the leaves. By contrast, Grey Box grows in areas that normally do not suffer from flooding. Grey Box differs from Black Box insofar as the ends of the branches are grey rather than blackish. Yellow Box grows in areas of better alluvial soil. Native Pine is often observed growing on sand hills. These trees are not usually regarded as suitable for home gardens or parks.
• Grey Mulga Acacia brachybotrya (3m by 3m). Common in parts of the Kamarooka Forest and in other areas of the region, Grey Mulga has silvery-grey leaves and yellow ball flowers in late Winter. It prefers light and sandy soils and is drought tolerant.
• Silver Wattle Acacia dealbata (20m by 15m). Suckering wattle which is most common along water courses. Prefering moist soils, it often grows in the same places as River Red Gum. Older specimens tend to dry during dry periods to be replaced by suckers. Not ideal for the home garden. Useful in farm plantations which contain eucalypts, the wattle helping 'fix' nitrogen. The Yorta Yorta name for Silver Wattle is Diyalna.
• Yarran Acacia homalophylla (7m by 4m). Yarran is a small upright tree with curved, spiked leaves. It is a useful shelter tree and forms clumps from suckers on lower ground.
• Lightwood Wattle Acacia implexa (about 25m high). Lightwood is a tree with long, narrow leaves and masses of creamy coloured balls in late Summer. It is found mainly along creek beds amongst Grey Box, on sandhills or with River Red Gum (e.g. in Barmah-Millewa Forest).
• Melville's Yarran Acacia melvillei (5 to 10m by about 7m). This tree is very similar to A homalophylla but prefers sandier soils. It is possibly the more common of the two to the east of the region.
• Boree Acacia pendula (approximately 7m by 7m). Boree is an ornamental tree with grey leaves drooping to the ground. It is suitable for wind breaks and complements box trees. Although slow to become established, it is long-lived. The foliage is eagerly eaten by cattle, shbeep and goats. This attractive tree prefers ground water beneath the surface layer.
• Cooba (aka Native Willow) Acacia salicina (15m by 10m). Long-lived, Cooba is a broad-crowned tree with dark green drooping foliage to ground level. Suitable for farm plantations. It is a good shade and shelter tree and has potential as a street tree (on nature strips). It has been used as a screening plant around car parks. The timber has been used for furniture. It may sucker if protected from grazing stock. Salicina means willoow-like..
• River Cooba or Eumong Acacia stenophylla (7m by 7m). This small, long-lived tree has long, drooping leaves and is found along many watercourses. It is suitable as a windbreak alongside irrigated paddocks. It is worthy of inclusion in plantations. A fine-leaf form is becoming increasingly popular. Like many long-lived wattles, it does not flower as prolifically as some short-lived varieties: it doen't need to. An ornamental tree for large gardens.
• Bull Oak (aka Buloke) Allocasuarina luehmannii (20m by 10m). Bulokek is a spreading tree which is a good windbreak on farms if planted in clumps. Established trees can sucker if protected from grazing stock. Because of its size, Buloke is not suitable for the home garden. Sometimes Buloke grows with Grey Box on areas that are seldom, if ever, flooded.
• Drooping She-oak Allocasuarina verticillata (5m by 3m approximately). An attractive small tree (or large shrub) with drooping branches.
• White Cypress Pine Callitris glaucophylla (20m by 15m) Native Pine is the dominant tree in parts of Terrick Terrick National Park. Elsewhere, Native Pine is found mainly on sand ridges in Barmah-Millewa Forest and on other sand hills throughout the region. It does not thrive if the water table is high. There is a dense crown of blue-green leaves and the tree has dark furrowed bark. Because of its size and because it may fall during wind storms, Cypress Pine is not recommended for the home garden.
Murray Pine is a subspecies (murrayensis) of White Cypress Pine and is found on sandhills along the Murray River.
Bull Mallee Eucalyptus behriana (5m or higher) This mallee eucalypt has dark bark and broad, shiny, green leaves. Like all mallee eucalypts, is usually multi-stemmed.
• River Red Gum Eucalyptus camaldulensis (large tree). Some riverside forests, the Barmah-Millewa Forest and Gunbower-Perricoota Forest are dominated by River Red Gum. This species grows in areas that are often inundated, e.g. on the flood plains of rivers. Not suitable for home gardens (not that houses are likely to be built in such flood-prone areas!).
• Grey Box Eucalyptus microcarpa (large tree). Grey Box is possibly the best Australian tree as far as wildlife habitat is concerned. Unsuitable for home gardens, this species has a life-span of over 400 years. Once the tree is mature, hollows may form, e.g. as a result of white-ant activity and/or fallen branches. It's great for insects and invertebrates in general. These, in turn, provide food for mammals, birds, bats, etc. Grey Box prefers to live on land that is flood-free.
• Black Box Eucalyptus largiflorens. Black Box can be distinguished from Grey Box by the fact that the branches are the same dark colour to the very top. The end of Grey Box branches are a lighter colour. Black Box grows in areas subject to occasional inundation. This tree is too large for the typical home garden.
• Kamarooka Mallee Eucalyptus froggattii (5 to 10 m by 5m). Restricted to the Kamarooka and Whipstick forests and a few other localities in Victoria (e.g. near Charlton and near Horsham), this mallee has narrow dark-green leaves and a dark bark, smooth greyish and ribbony away from the base. Suitable for larger home gardens.
• Yellow Gum (aka White Ironbark) Eucalyptus leucoxylon (5 to 30m by about 12m), This tall tree related to the ironbarks rather than gums has multi-coloured bark and white to cream flowers from late Autumn into Summer. Variety 'rosea' has red flower, is widely cultivate, attracts nectar-eating birds and is an excellent street tre provided, however, that there is no overhead electricity line.
• Yellow Box Eucalyptus melliodora 12 to 30m by s12 to 30m). This tree is highly regarded for the honey bees produce from its nectar. Its species name, melli-odora, means sweet smell. It is usually found growing on good quality loamy soils. Too large for the typical home gardens.
• Red Box Eucalyptus polyanthemos (about 25m by 20m). Red Box is easy to distinguish from Grey Box and Black Box because of the largish, round leaves. It is suitable as a shade tree in a park or farm but not for a home garden.
• Blue Mallee Eucalyptus polybractea (8m by 6m).This mallee can be distinguished from the others by its greyish foliage. The grey leaves have a bluish tinge. This is one of the mallee eucalypts which was once cut for eucalyptus oil. In fact there is still a distillery in the forest. It is suitable for the home garden if planted well away from the house and from boundary fences.
• Ironbark Eucalyptus tricarpa (30m by 15m). The Bendigo area species of Ironbark was formerly known as Eucalyptus sideroxylon. This tree can be readily identified by the vertical furrows in its dark bark. An iconic tree, it sometimes produces an abundance of flowers and nectar which attract many birds, including Swift Parrot, lorikeets and honeyeaters. It thrives in gravelly soils and prefers dry conditions. Whilst Ironbark is common in much of the Whipstick, it is far less common in the Kamarooka Forest to the north and absent from much of that northern section of the park. It grows in areas of the Heathcote-Graytown and Rushworth forests. It is sometimes used as a shade tree in parks.
Green Mallee Eucalyptus viridis (10m by 5m approximately). This mallee eucalypt may develop several slender stems. It has narrow, shining, dark green leaves. It is very hardy. This is another of the mallee eucalypts which was once cut for eucalyptus oil. Do not plant close to the property boundary in case in gets larger than expected and annoys neighbours. Suitable for medium and larger gardens.
• Needlewood Hakea leucoptera (5m by 4m). Needlewood is a small tree with op;open branches and needle-like leaves. It is often in a small thicket of suckers.
• Hooked Needlewood (Hakea tephrosperma) is similar in appearance to Hakea leucoptera but the end of each needle is curved (or hooked). Specimens grow in the arboretum alongside the Koyuga Hall.
• Moonah Melaleuca lanceolata (7m by 6m). Moonah has a dense, low-growing rounded crown. It tolerates a variety of soil types, is hardy and is suitable for shelter belts, including those alongside irrigated land.
• Weeping Pittosporum (aka Butterbush) Pittosporum angustifolium formerly known as P. phylliraeoides (4m by 2m)
are familiar with Pittosporum undulatum or Mock Orange.
it is regarded as a weed in local bushland. P. undulatum is not indigenous to our region but comes from bushland along Australia's east coast. On the other hand, Weeping Pittosporum, which is found over a wide area including in Terrick Terrick National Park (woodlands section) and along parts of Broken Creek, is native to a wide area, including northern Victoria and southern NSW. It is a leaner tree with narrower leaves than Mock Orange and has a drooping habit.
Weeping Pittosporum grows over three metres high. Initially, it
is not very wide but suckers may sprout, giving it more width. It can
be grown alongside, but a few metres away from, a boundary fence. It is a suitable tree for farm plantations alongside unirrigated pasture.
Ground covers, herbs and grasses
To help identify native grasses, herbs and grasses, Plants of Western New South Wales is very helpful as is Lunt, Barlow and Ross Plains Wandering, the Nathalia Plant Group's Flora of the Nathalia District and Barmah Forest, and N and J Marriott's Grassland Plants of South-eastern Australia.
Wire Grass Aristida behriana This is a spreading perennial grass with attractive flowers on short stems above the leaves from October to January. Drought tolerant. It is not suitable as a lawn but is attractive if grown in a clump in a garden bed or roundabout. There are several other species, e.g A. ramosa.
Flame Heath Astroloma conostephioides (prostrate)
Heath Astroloma humifusum (0.2m) A particularly attractive heath-like plant.
• Creeping Saltbush Atriplex sdemibaccata. This ground cover has a tendency to climb up the stems of trees and shrubs. It is otherwise similar in appearance to Ruby Saltbush.
• Wallaby Grass Austrodanthonia spp. Found in the grassland sections of Terrick Terrick National Park, in some forest areas, alongside railway lines and in pasture that has never (or rarely) been ploughed.
• Spear Grass Austrostipa spp. Found in the grassland sections of Terrick Terrick National Park and in pasture that has never (or rarely) been ploughed .
• Pink Fairies Caladenia spp.are tiny native orchids which flower in Spring from a subterranean tuber.
They are unlikely to survive if taken from the wild (which is
illegal anyway). Appreciate these in the field. Experts can grow them in pots.
• Clustered Everlasting Chrysocephalum semipapposum (0.75 by 0.5m). Formerly known as Helichrysum semipapposum, this everlasting tends to sucker and cover large areas. It is a good garden plant and widespread in some parts of the park. It is particularly common in Red Gum forests along the Murray River and in Box forests like Terrick Terrick National Park.
Red Correa Correa reflexa rubra (1m.)
Red fuschia-like bells over a long period. Correa glabra is a larger Correa described above under shrubs.
• Billy Buttons Craspedia variabilis. Billy Buttons is a perennial plant which produces yellow flowerheads on leafless stems. Masses of Billy Biuttons in flower is an impressive sight. The plant is common in areas of Lower Goulburn River National Park, Barmah-Millewa Forest and Gunbower-Perricoota Forest.
Small Crowea Crowea exalata (1m by 1m). This tiny shrub has narrow waxy leaves and very attractive pink star-like flowers over the six warmer months. An excellent plant for a small garden or rockery.
Black-anther Flax-lily Dianella admixta (0.75m by 0.75m). Formerly known as Dianella revoluta, this robust perennial has leaves resembling those of an Agapanthus. It too has blue flowers but they are not as conspicuous. The blue flowers are followed by blue berries in summer. A very good plant for a narrow garden. There are one or two other species of Dianella growing in the region , e.g. Dianella longifolia.
• Ruby Saltbush Enchylaema tomentosa (ground cover). This common ground-hugging plant has succulent foliage and red or yellow-coloured berries. It is popular with bush birds which help spread it. A nice addition to a garden or plantation.
• Rosy Heath
Myrtle Euromyrtus ramosissima(0.3m by 0.2m.)
Mauve flowers cover this prostrate plant during Spring. Following good Winter rains, this plant can blanket the ground in much of the Greater Bendigo National Park. This plant was formerly called Baeckea ramosissima. Included here because it is sometimes very conspicuous on the forest floor, this attractive plant is, unfortunately, difficult to grow in cultivation.
• Rock Isotome Isotoma axillaris. This tiny bush often grows in rock crevasses. It is suitable for a well-drained rockery.
• Giant Rush Juncus ingens. This is the world's tallest rush and grows in huge, thick clumps. It is common in Barmah-Millewa Forest where it is taking over areas of Moira Grass plain. Cattle prefer more nutritious plants to this rush, and so cattle grazing does little or nothing to control its spread. Giant Rush burns ferociously if set alight during dry times.
• Heath Myrtle Micromyrtus ciliata (1m by 2m). This is a showy plant when it is covered in small, white to pink flowers in Spring.
• Common Tussock Grass Poa labillardierei (1m by 1m). Native grasses are becoming increasingly popular in gardens. Most are very hardy and recover from dry periods very well. Like many other native grasses, Common Tussock Grass is suitable for landscaping around a pool, in small roadside roundabouts or in a rockery. It is particularly effective when mass planted.
• Common Reed Phragmites australis. This reed lines some water courses, especially where cattle are absent, protecting the banks from erosion. It can be observed from the walkway at Mathoura on the town side of Gulpa Creek where cattle grazing is absent. It could be planted around a dam but isprobably not suitable for the home garden.
• Moira Grass Pseudoraphis spinescens. This grass was once more widespread in Barmah-Millewa Forest and other wetlands than it is today. In the past, annual flooding used to drownand kill young sapling. Because of river regulation, the floods are now niether as deep nor as freqauent, so the saplings and Giant Rush have been able to take over much of the Moira grass plains. Efforts are being made to control the rush and Red Gum invasion, e.g. by ecological burns and sapling removal. It is probably not suitable for the home garden.
• Hedge Saltbush Rhagodia spinescens. As its common name suggests, this saltbush can be used as a hedging plant. It is not prostrate like the Ruby Saltbush.
• Leafy Templetonia Templetonia stenophylla. This is a low, tangled leafless plant. The specimen shown below was photographed in the Kamarooka section of Greater Bendigo National Park.
Black-eyed Susan (Pink Bells) Tetratheca ciliata (Height: 0.3m)
Suitable as a container plant. It is illegal to take these from the bush or from roadsides.
• Kangaroo Grass Themeda triandra (formerly Triandra australis). Kangaroo Grass is a tussocky perennial that is, possibly because it is favoured by grazing animals, becoming increasingly uncommon in the wild.
• Native Violet Viola hederacea. In moist soil, the Native Violet may appear. It is a spreading ground cover that produces white flowers with purple centres. Its leaves are smaller than those of the introduced Violet.
• Tall Native Bluebell Wahlenbergia stricta. Blue stars appear on thin stems from perennial root stock.
• Everlasting Xerochrysum bracheatum
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Native Jasmine Jasminum lineare. This hardy climber has fragrant white flowers. Suitable for a trellis in the home garden.
• Narrow-leaf Clematis Clematis microphylla. This attractive climber is sometimes seen as a fluffy silver mass hanging from trees and shrubs. It prefers sandy loam and is suitable for native gardens.
Dodder Laurel is a pesty climber that should not be encouraged.
The following publications may prove useful:
Bendigo Field Naturalist Club, Wildflowers of Bendigo
Nathalia Wildflower Group, Flora of the Nathalia district and Barmah Forest (Prominant Press, Shepparton)
City of Greater Shepparton, Gardening with local native plants (brocure) Click here to download a copy.
City of Greater Bendigo and Bendigo Wildflower Group, Indigenous plants of Bendigo Click here to download the various sections of a booklet.
Martin Driver and Marianne Porteners, The use of locally-native trees and shrubs in the southern Riverina (free publication that was distributed by Greening Australia, Deniliquin)
G.M. Cunningham and others, Plants of western New South Wales (Inkata Press)
Leon Costermans, Trees of Victoria and adjoining areas (Costerman Publishing)
Leon Costermans, Native trees and shrubs of South-eastern Australia (Rigby)
W. Rodger Elliot and David L. Jones, Encyclopaedia of Australian plants suitable for cultivation (Lothian)
John W Wrigley and Murray Fagg, Australian native plants (Collins)
Victorian National Parks Association, Field guide to Victoria's Box and Ironbark country
Philip Moore, Plants of inland Australia (New Holland)
Ian Lunt, Tim Barlow & James Ross, Plains-wandering: exploring the grassy plains of south-eastern Australia (VNPA/Trust for Nature)
Neil and Jane Marriott, Grassland plants of south-eastern Australia
Diana Snape, The Australian garden: designing with Australian plants (Bloomings Books)
Paul Urquhart and Leigh Clapp, The new native garden: designing with Australian plants (New Holland)
List of books on plants of NSW (link to a page by Environment NSW)
Information contained in some of the above publications assisted in the preparation of this page.
The last two books listed above may helpk inspire you when designing a native garden. Not all the plants mentioned in the two books are, of course, indigenous to this area, but indigenous plants can often be substitued for the plants suggested. A specialist nursery may be able to assist you in this regard.
'top 10 garden plants', 'top 10 plants for dryland plantations' and 'top 10 plants for plantations alongside irigated land' are the subject of a separate page.
When growing indigenous plants in a garden,
don't assume that indigenous plants require neither maintenance
nor watering during dry times. Most natives do.
Some species grow best in sandy soils, some in moist soils, some in clay soils, some in semi-shade and some in full sun. Try to choose plants suitable for your soils and needs.
Farm plantations should have a mix of species, with wattles included amongst the eucalypts. Planting various species in random order is, in the opinion of many, preferable to a regimented pattern. Several rows are preferable to one or two rows. In order to support a high percentage of bush birds, a vegetation cover of 30 percent seems to be the threshold below which the number of bush bird species falls significantly. This percentage cover may be lower if the property adjoins natural bushland. Whilst such a high percentage of cover may be unrealistic, even a lower percentage shrub and tree cover will provide shade and act as a wind break, thereby improving pasture growth and benefiting stock.
As far as the home garden is concerned, don't fall into the
trap of planting trees and large shrubs near
fences and the house! Big trees on town blocks may mean
tree-removalists may have to be employed one day. Leave room,
especially near the front of a garden, for the small, hardy, colourful
Native grasses can add interest to your garden but introduced
weeds will need to be weeded or kept at bay with mulch, e.g. sawdust
or red gum chips.
Using pavers and red gum chips can create a
professional effect as the following picture I took the photo in a public
garden in a Brisbane suburb. Each 'front garden' along a street in the gardens had a different type of garden, one had a cottage garden of native plants, one was a European-style garden using natives,another was a rainforest garden and so on. All the gardens had paving, retaining walls and so on.
Copyright of photographs used on this site remains with the photographers.
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