Prior to European settlement there was an estimated 60 000 ha of native grassland in Central Gippsland, around the towns of Denison and Nambrok and between Sale and Maffra. They occurred on an infrequently flooded flat, alluvial plain with clay loam soils that was distinct from the adjacent grassy woodland dominated by Gippsland Red-gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis). Unfortunately, these grasslands have been totally destroyed by irrigated agriculture. However, up to 60 ha of grassland similar to the extinct vegetation community, has been created which has been by frequent burning of the grassy woodland. It occurs in cemeteries and on abandoned railway lines and some roadsides across the Gippsland Plain.
Frequent burning of the grassy woodland has created an open, treeless grassland community with a suite of tall flowering herbs. It has a similar composition to native grassland on the Southern Volcanic Plain and is dominated by Themeda triandra (Kangaroo grass) and Poa labillardierei (Common tussock grass). It includes species such as orchids and lilies that are tolerant of frequent burning but intolerant of grazing. Common species include Chrysocephalum apiculatum (Common Everlasting), Carex breviculmis (Short-stem Sedge), Pentapogon quadrifidus (Five-awned Spear-grass), Caesia calliantha (Blue Grass-lily), Hypoxis hygrometrica (Golden Weather-grass), Drosera peltata subsp. peltata (Pale Sundew), Burchardia umbellata (Milkmaids), Pimelea humilis (Common Rice-flower), Tricoryne elatior (Yellow Rush-lily), Schoenus apogon (Common Bog-rush) and Arthropodium strictum (Chocolate-lily). However, these Gippsland grasslands lack the semi-arid species commonly found on the Southern Volcanic Plain. This is evidenced by fewer daisy species and the absence of Eryngium ovinum (Blue-devil), Calocephalus citreus (Lemon beauty heads), Asperula scoparia (Prickly Woodruff), Dichanthium sericeum (Silky Blue-grass) and Ptilotus spp.
Iron-grass Natural Temperate Grassland of South Australia, occurs on gentle slopes of low hills, and in broad valleys with elevations from 50 m to more than 500 m, with the largest areas in the Lower North, Mid North and Upper North districts above 300 m. Iron-grass grasslands are different to the other grasslands of south-eastern Australia because they are often dominated, not by grasses, but by Lomandra species, known in South Australia as Iron-grasses. These are tussock-forming plants from the lily family (Liliaceae) that are present in other grasslands but not dominant. Closer to Adelaide, historical records suggest that the original grasslands were more dominated by Themeda triandra, but with similar mix of other species, including subdominant Lomandra species. Only isolated patches of these grasslands remain today.
Lomandra multiflora subsp. dura (Many-flowered Mat-rush) tends to be more common in richer soils and higher rainfall areas and Lomandra effusa (Scented Mat-rush) tends to be more common in poorer and stonier soils with lower rainfall. Other Lomandra species, such as L. micrantha (Small-flowered Mat-rush) and L. densiflora, are also characteristic. A wide range of native tussock grasses occur with the Lomandra species and may be co-dominant or dominant, particularly on deeper valley soils, but these areas have been almost entirely lost to agriculture. Common native grasses in these communities are Rytidosperma (Wallaby Grasses) and Austrostipa species (Spear Grasses). Other important grass species are Aristida behriana (Bush Wire-grass), and Themeda triandra (Kangaroo Grass). The shrub Bursaria spinosa (Sweet Bursaria) occurs sporadically in most grasslands, along with occasional patches of Acacia pycnantha (Australian Golden Wattle) and Allocasuarina verticillata (Drooping She-oak) which are usually found on stony rises. Many of the most frequently occurring native herbs in Iron-grass Natural Temperate Grasslands are common to other grassland communities in south-eastern Australia. These include Wahlenbergia luteola, Goodenia pusilliflora (Small-flower Goodenia), G. pinnatifida (Cut-leaf Goodenia), Convolvulus erubescens (Blushing Bindweed), Vittadinia gracilis (Woolly New Holland Daisy), Chrysocephalum apiculatum (Common Everlasting), Ptilotus spathulatus (Cat’s Paw) and Leptorhynchos squamatus (Scaly Buttons). Chenopod species such as Maireana enchylaenoides (Wingless Bluebush), Maireana excavata (Bottle Bluebush), Enchylaena tomentosa (Barrier Saltbush) and species more typical of arid areas are also common, especially in drier areas. A variety of native daisies are often the most diverse and prolific herbaceous species present.
Old mine area. Many relics, buildings and mine diggings but most of area retains significant remnant vegetation despite numerous disturbances over the years including grazing.
Stony hill top with a good range of grassland species
The terrain of the park is hilly with ephemeral watercourses and rock outcropping on the ridges. Native vegetation in the park comprises tussock grassland dominated by Hard Mat-rush (Lomandra multiflora ssp dura) over Bunch Wire-grass (Aristida behriana). Various spear (Stipa spp) and wallaby (Danthonia spp) grasses are co-dominant throughout. Due to the high proportion of herbaceous species, the appearance of the grassland changes markedly with the seasons. Vegetation on the northern and western slopes is very patchy. In places the structure is relatively open, with gaps between perennial grass and Lomandra tussocks occupied by a variety of seasonal herbs and soil that is bare or covered with a moss and lichen crust. Elsewhere the vegetation may be much denser, with alien species such as Wild Oats (Avena barbata) occupying the space between native grass tussocks and fewer native herbs. The condition of the vegetation is very variable due to past use for grazing with alien species becoming dominant near dams and on hill tops.
Poonthie Ruwe Conservation Park has relatively flat terrain, with very shallow loam over calcrete rock, which outcrops frequently throughout the park. The soluble nature of calcrete has lead to the formation of small ‘potholes’ throughout the park. These ‘potholes’ provide habitat for native fauna, particularly reptiles, although rabbits have been known to use these burrows in the past as well. Sandy soil has blown onto the southern edge of the property from a small, disturbed dune on the adjacent block.The name ‘Poonthie Ruwe’ means ‘Hopping Mouse Country’ in the local Ngarrindjeri language.
Lowland native grassland in Tasmania occurs below 600 m on valley flats and well-drained slopes on basalt, dolerite and deep sands geologies. The majority of remnants occur in the Midlands, Derwent Valley, east coast and south-east areas of Tasmania. There are two distinct sub-communities, differentiated by the dominant tussock-forming grass. Lowland Themeda triandra grassland is dominated by Themeda triandra (Kangaroo Grass) with Austrostipa, Poa and Rytidosperma species subdominant. In good-quality patches, the intertussock spaces contain many daisies, particularly Leptorhynchos squamatus (Scaly Buttons) and Chrysocephalum apiculatum (Common Everlasting), Arthropodium spp. (Chocolate and Vanilla Lilies) and other native lilies, native orchids and short or prostrate shrubs including Pimelea humilis (Common Rice-flower), Bossiaea prostrata (Creeping Bossiaea) and Hibbertia species such as Hibbertia hirsuta (Hairy Guinea-flower). Epacridaceae, including Lissanthe strigosa (Peach Berry) and Astroloma humifusum (Native Cranberry), are a conspicuous component of Tasmanian Themeda grasslands rarely found in lowland native grasslands on the mainland. The other community is Lowland Poa labillardierei (Common Tussock) grassland, which is typically found on alluvial flats in valley bottoms, sometimes in association with scattered Eucalyptus ovata (Swamp Gum) trees, and on gentle slopes. It is typically less diverse than Tasmanian Themeda triandra grassland. The size of the Poa labillardierei tussocks, and therefore their competitive influence, varies with topographic situation and grazing pressure, which in turn influences the species composition of the intertussock spaces, with larger tussocks reducing species diversity. Characteristic species include Schoenus apogon (Common Bog-rush), Acaena novae-zelandiae (Bidgee-widgee), Acaena echinata (Sheep’s Burr), Dichondra repens (Kidney Weed) and Veronica gracilis (Slender Speedwell).
Campbell Town Golf Club is a nine-hole (par 70) flat course. There are bunkers on some greens and long, flat fairways. The rough is protected as it contains lowland native grassland dominated by Kangaroo Grass (Themeda triandra) with many rare varieties of orchids and at least 78 native species.
This very unprepossessing site, east of the town, and adjacent to the town’s garbage tip. It includes a salt lagoon with its own interesting flora and the hillside to the west of the lagoon boasts some rare and interesting species. This is a harsh grassland environment and a very interesting place to visit.
The native grasslands of the Murray Valley Plains occur within a mosaic of woodlands and wetlands across the southern parts of the Riverina bioregion, the Murray–Darling Depression bioregion and extend to parts of the New South Wales South Western Slopes bioregion. They include the grasslands of the New South Wales Riverina and those on the Northern Plains and Wimmera Plains of Victoria. They are found on heavy-textured or poorly drained grey, brown and red clays soils derived from Quaternary alluvial sediments or, in the case of the Wimmera Plains, tertiary sediments, deposited by the prehistoric Murray River and its tributaries. Murray Valley Plain grasslands are open to closed perennial tussock grasslands dominated by one or more C3 or C4 grasses such as Rytidosperma spp. (Wallaby Grasses), Austrostipa spp. (Spear grasses) and Enteropogon ramosus (Curly Windmill-grass). Perennial intertussock forbs such as Arthropodium spp. (Vanilla-lilies), Bulbine spp. (Bulbine Lilies), Calocephalus sonderi (Pale Beauty-heads), Chrysocephalum spp. (Plains Everlasting), Leptorhynchos squamatus (Scaly Buttons) and Minuria spp. (Minnie Daisies) are common. Unlike most other native grasslands in south-eastern Australia, Themeda triandra (Kangaroo grass) is uncommon or absent. The community has floristic affinities with adjoining drier semi-arid vegetation to the north and west and includes a number of arid zone species at their easterly limit. Commonly, the grasslands of the Murray Valley Plains have members from the Ptilotus and Swainsona genera, a broad variety of chenopods, particularly Maireana (Bluebush) species, and a significant annual forb component that commonly includes species such as Eriochlamys behrii (Woolly Mantle), Goodenia pusilliflora (Small-flower Goodenia), Hyalosperma semisterile (Orange Sunray), Pogonolepis muelleriana (Stiff Cup-flower), Rhodanthe corymbiflora (Grey Sunray), Isoetopsis graminifolia (Grass Cushion) and Triptilodiscus pygmaeus (Common Sunray).
The reserve is characterised by treeless grassland plains punctuated by occasional strips of Black Box or Eumong (Acacia stenophylla) dominated woodland along ephemeral watercourses. The grasslands typically occur on ‘red’ and ‘grey’ soils.
Terrick Terrick NP conserves the largest, most intact examples of the Natural Grasslands of the Murray Valley Plains and is one of the few places in northern Victoria where the original landscapes and vegetation of the area are largley intact.
Native grasslands of the South Eastern Highlands bioregion occur in the New South Wales Southern Tablelands, the Australian Capital Territory and around Omeo, Benambra and Bendoc in East Gippsland in Victoria. They occur at altitudes between 350 and 1200 m in a variety of topographic positions including valleys influenced by cold air drainage, low lying flats, drainage depressions, broad plains and exposed west or north facing hills.
Natural Temperate Grassland of the South Eastern Highlands is normally treeless and is dominated by native perennial tussock grasses up to a 1 m high. The dominant species depends on drainage patterns, soil characteristics and/or disturbance history and include Themeda triandra (Kangaroo grass), Poa siebriana (snowgrass) and Poa labillardieri (Common tussock grass) in areas that have been lightly grazed and Austrostipa bigeniculata (Kneed speargrass), Austrostipa scabra (Slender speargrass), Bothriochloa macra (Red grass) and Rytidosperma (Wallaby grass) species in areas with higher grazing pressure. Many other grass species such as Dichelachne (Plume grass) species, Chloris truncata (Windmill grass) and native Eragrsotis (Love grass) species can occur in the community as lower sub-dominants growing between the tussocks of the dominant species. Forbs commonly found in the inter-tussock spaces include Acaena ovina (Sheep's burr), Asperula spp (Woodruffs), Chrysocephalum apiculatum (Common everlasting), Convolvulus spp. (Bindweed), Euchiton spp. (Cudweeds), Leptorhynchos squamatus (Scaly buttons), Lomandra spp. (Mat-rushes), Plantago varia (Variable plantain) and Vittadinia muelleri (Narrow-leaf New Holland daisy). Other frequently encountered forb include species from the Brachyscome, Dichondra, Erodium, Eryngium, Geranium, Glycine, Goodenia, Helichrysum, Microtis, Pimelea, Rumex, Solenogyne, Stackhousia and Wahlenbergia genera.
Dunlop Grassland Nature Reserve, part of Canberra Nature Park, is a 105 hectare reserve located in north-west Belconnen on the ACT/NSW border. The reserve is gently sloping above the narrow flood plains of Gooramon Creek and is largely natural grassland. The reserve contains endangered natural temperate grassland and yellow box- Blakely’s red gum grassy woodland. It supports the endangered golden sun moth and is one of a few known habitats of the rare and locally endemic Canberra raspy cricket.
Jarramlee Offset Area, previously part of the Jerramlee property, is an area of 112 ha containing extensive areas of natural temperate grassland but also exotic pasture dominated by Chilean needlegrass. It provides extensive habitat for the endangered golden sun moth which feeds on both the roots of native wallaby grass and the Chilean needlegrass. The area will become part of Canberra Grassland Nature Reserve network.
A scenic and large reserve that conserves a large sample of the Monaro grassland landscape. There are patches of high floral diversity, especially in the steeper rocky parts of the reserve. The site conserves three of the regions threatened reptiles, and is habitat for a number of other grassland reptiles, birds, mammals and invertebrates.
Mulanggari Grassland Nature Reserve is a low lying grassland reserve located in the south west of Gungahlin Valley. The reserve features nationally endangered natural temperate grassland and includes populations of the threatened striped legless lizard, golden sun moth, and perunga grasshopper. Endangered Blakely’s red gum-yellow box grassy woodland occurs on ridge lines and in recent years trees have provided a roosting site for the vulnerable superb parrot. The reserve also protects an Aboriginal chert quarry complex which is valued by the Ngunnawal people and is significant for the information it provides on Aboriginal technology, occupation and resource use. Muggangarri is close to two other major and similar grassland reserves, Crace Grassland Nature Reserve (156 hectares) and Gungaderra Grassland Nature Reserve (281 hectare). Dominant species are Themeda australis, Chrysocephalum apiculatum, Panicum effusum, Poa sieberiana, Vittadinia sp., Lomandra sp., Austrostipa scabra, Austrostipa bigenticulata, Rytidosperma spp.
OCCGR is a large picturesque grassland reserve with extensive views over the township of Cooma, surrounding grasslands and distant forest landscapes. At the right time of day the golden landscapes of grasses provide spectacular image of what Australian montane and temperate grasslands would have looked like. The reserve is dominated by kangaroo and river tussock snow grasses, and contains many other species of grasses, wildflowers and sub-shrubs found in grasslands. The reserve adjoins other grassland sites which contain similar species.
This scenic site conserves populations of several threatened species. Wildflower displays are expected in spring and summer, particulalry patches of Button Wrinklewort, Hoary Sunray and Blue Devil. The patch of woodland in the north is the habitat for a variety of woodland birds, while the grassland section has several species of threatened fauna. A large mob of Eastern Grey Kangaroos makes the reserve its home.
This site has spectacular wildflower displays in spring and summer. It is an especially good site for Golden Moth Orchids, Blue Devil and the Chamomile Burr-daisy. Look for the pair of Nankeen Kestrels hunting or breeding in the big hollows of the old-growth Candlebark trees. In autumn and winter, the dominant Kangaroo Grass takes on lovely rusty hues. There are excellent opportunities for photography at the site as it is in a scenic area.
A majority of Jerrabomberra West Nature Reserve is generally flat, lowland native grassland with scattered box-gum woodland on gently rolling slopes in the south. The reserve is visible from the Monaro Highway and provides an example of the ‘treeless plains’ and woodland transition area that were typical of the Canberra region before European settlement. Jerrabomberra West (261 ha) and Jerrabomberra East (40 ha) are the two sites that form Jerrabomberra Grassland Nature Reserve; Woods Lane adjoins Jerrabomberra East Grassland Reserve.
The Southern Volcanic Plain was created by volcanic activity that began 4.5 million years ago and continued until 10 000 years ago. On average, an eruption took place every 10 000 years and over 400 eruption points have been identified. Although there were some explosive eruptions that produced circular craters (maars), which now contain lakes and swamps, most were small volcanoes, active for a few years or decades. These deposited thin broad shields or long lava flows of basalt 2–10 m deep, creating broad plains, but other flows up to 100 m thick filled existing valleys. Native grasslands occur in areas where these flows have experienced long periods of weathering, producing heavy grey, red or black cracking clay soils, which are generally fertile but poorly drained. In contrast, the youngest relatively unweathered lava flows are known as stony rises and have thin soils and support woodland vegetation dominated by genera such as Banksia (Banksias), Acacia (Wattles) and Allocasuarina (She-oaks and Bull-oaks).
The dominant native grass of the Victorian Volcanic Plain grasslands is Themeda triandra (Kangaroo Grass) which is a summer growing tussock forming species. A range of winter growing grasses – including Rytidosperma spp. (Wallaby Grasses), Dichelachne spp. (Plume Grasses) and Austrostipa spp. (Spear Grasses) – occur as minor components in most grasslands, but increase in abundance where soils are shallow (soil moisture stress reduces Kangaroo Grass productivity) and where past heavy stock grazing has occurred. Poa labillardierei (Common Tussock-grass) occurs in wetter areas, such as drainage lines. A variety of perennial forbs occupy the spaces between grass tussocks. Intertussock species that occur throughout the range of the community include Eryngium ovinum (Blue Devil), Acaena echinata (Sheep’s Burr), Leptorhynchos squamatus (Scaly Buttons), Convolvulus angustissimus (Pink Bindweed) and Schoenus apogon (Common Bog-rush). In areas of higher rainfall to the west of the bioregion, other species that frequently occur include Microtis unifolia (Common Onion-orchid) and Drosera peltata (Pale Sundew). In lower rainfall areas, Chrysocephalum apiculatum (Common Everlasting) and Calocephalus citreus (Lemon Beauty-heads) become more prevalent.
Arcade Way Reserve is totally surrounded by the houses which is characteristic of the City View Estate which was designed by Walter Burley Griffin in the late 1920’s. Some of these parks have changed little over time and the native flora was preserved despite some disturbances, the planting of exotic trees and construction of playground equipment and paths.
Bordering the Merri Creek and now surrounded by industrial uses, the reserve supports large areas of Plains Grassland and patches of Red Gum Plains Grassy Woodland. Along the Merri Creek are stands of Woolly Tea-tree, Riparian Scrub and Escarpment Shrublands. Bababi Marning (Cooper Street) Grassland Nature Conservation Reserve is an important part of the larger Merri Creek Marran Baba Parklands which is a critical biodiversity corridor through Melbourne's northen suburbs from Mt Ridley all the way to Yarra Bend Park
The reserve sits on a rocky knoll above Kororoit Creek to which it remains substantially connected across College Street. It has been designed according to ecological principles and is surrounded by roads (so it can be burnt), has sympathetic fencing that exclude vechicles but not people, has granitic sand edges to minimise weed invasion and a walkway that invites visitors into it to experience the flora close up.
A triangular shaped reserve crossed by high voltage powerlines. Parts of the site have been significantly disturbed in the past by rock removal and dumping resulting in a grassland of varying quality that is being improved through sympathetic management.
While some trees were cleared from the Arboretum site in the past, several large River Red-gums remain and much of the native understorey is still present. A watercourse runs diagonally through the Arboretum from north-east to the south-west. The natural stream has been extensively modified and dammed as a series of ponds that form a major wetland. The main plantations of trees are to the west and north of the wetland. Apart from the western boundary, the ground layer between the mounds still retains a good cover of native plant species. Further east and north of the old saw mill is an area of Plains Grassy Woodland with some mature and juvenile River Red-gums over an understorey dominated by native grasses and forbs. Part of the woodland has been marked out with timber bollards.
This small, species rich grassland in the middle of Sunbury is highly significant and provides tremendous education potential. The site is open with a slight fall from north to south. The grassland is dominated by Themeda triandra (Kangaroo Grass) with most native species occuring at low frequencies across the reserve. Native grassland with different species composition occurs on the knoll and in a scape created when the adjoining railway line was built.
A flat grassland between Koroit Creek and residential houses immediately north of Isabella Williams Memorial Reserve that has been subject to various disturbances in the past. Prior to urbanisation in the 1990's there were many areas of native grassland nearby including on the opposite side of Koroit Creek in Burnside, along road and transmission reserves and the site of Brimbank Central Shopping centre
Mortlake Common Flora Reserve contains one of the largest remnants of the nationally listed critically endangered Natural Temperate Grassland of the Victorian Volcanic Plains. The reserve consists almost entirely of grassland, merging into a large (32 ha) seasonal wetland in the centre of the reserve. A shallow drain has been dug from the wetland, connecting it to Blind Creek, which enters the reserve on the eastern boundary and exits on the southern boundary. The reserve supports a high diversity of flora species in comparison to other large grassland remnants, including some large populations of threatened species, including the Western Gaping Leek Orchid, Basalt Leek-orchid, Plains Yam-daisy and Arching Flax-lily.
Ngarri-djarrang is surrounded by residential developments with Central Creek on its Western side. The grassland is bisected into a northern and southern section by Davidson Street, which has a wide mown grass edge on both sides and a footpath on the northern edge.
Shallow ephemeral wetlands containing grasses and forbs are common in drainage lines and depressions across the lowland plains of south-eastern South Australia. The hydrology of seasonal herbaceous wetlands is largely dependent on the interaction between winter rainfall and microtopography in the local area and, although the duration and frequency of inundation is therefore highly variable, they are normally submerged for up to a few months each year before drying out during summer. Trees and shrubs are normally absent from seasonal herbaceous wetlands.
The dominant species in the community are typically grasses or sedges tolerant of inundation by fresh or brackish water. These include Amphibromus spp. (Swamp Wallaby-grasses), Carex tereticaulis (Poong’ort), Deyeuxia spp. (Reed Bent-grasses), Glyceria spp. (Australian Sweet-grasses), Lachnagrostis spp. (Blown Grasses), Poa labillardierei (Common Tussock-grass) and Rytidosperma duttonianum (Brown-back Wallaby-grass). Other graminoid species such as Eleocharis spp. (Spike-sedges), Walwhalleya proluta (Rigid Panic) and Juncus spp. (Reeds) also occur, as do a diversity of wetland forbs. These vary with the grassland region, nature and history of the wetland but typically include Asperula spp. (Woodruffs), Brachyscome spp. (Swamp-daisies), Calocephalus lacteus (Milky Beauty-heads), Craspedia spp. (Billy Buttons), Eryngium vesiculosum (Prickfoot), Lobelia spp., Marsilea spp. (Nardoo) and Ranunculus spp. (Buttercups).
Grassy wetlands occur in depressions in the upland grassland regions in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory and cover approximately 1565 ha on the Monaro Plateau. Because upland wetlands are not connected to rivers or streams, the duration of water inundation depends on their catchment area, rainfall patterns and the degree of past and current disturbance, but it ranges from near permanent (rarely dry), through intermittent (seasonally dry) to ephemeral (occasionally full). Plant species diversity tends to be highest in the seasonally dry wetlands, because water levels protect them from grazing but are not so high as to exclude most species. Most of the wetlands are small (less than 10 ha) and situated in agricultural landscapes, which makes them vulnerable to threats such as damming, draining, grazing, trampling and fertiliser pollution.
The Upland Wetlands of the Monaro Plateau are dominated by sedges such as Eleocharis acuta (Common Spike-rush), E. pusilla (Small Spike-rush), E. sphacelata (Kaya), Carex gaudichaudiana and C. bichenoviana, or by grasses such as Lachnagrostis filiformis (Blown Grass), Amphibromus nervosus (Common Swamp Wallaby-grass) or Glyceria australis (Australian Sweet-grass). The extent of these species is determined by water depth; deeper wetlands tend to have vegetation only on their shores and shallow reaches, but shallow wetlands have vegetation across the depression and may appear as grassland during dry periods. Commonly associated aquatic species include Potamogeton tricarinatus (Floating Pondweed), Myriophyllum variifolium (Varied Water-milfoil), Nymphoides geminata (Entire Marshwort), Stellaria angustifolia (Swamp Startwort), Lobelia surrepens, Hydrocotyle tripartita (Pennywort), Epilobium billardiereanum subsp. cinereum (Variable Willow-herb), Brachyscome radicans (Marsh Daisy), Crassula helmsii (Swamp Crassula), Limosella australis (Austral Mudwort), Ranunculus diminutus (Brackish Plains Buttercup) and Persicaria prostrata (Creeping Knotweed).
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