Seasonal Herbaceous Wetlands of the Temperate Lowland Plains

Images ©:
©Damien Cook

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).

Conservation Status (EPBC Act) 
Critically Endangered
Percent of former extent remaining 
< 20% in Victoria, < 10% in South Australia, < 50% in NSW
Bioregions the community occurs in 
Characteristic flora species 

Allittia cardiocarpa, Asperula conferta, Asperula subsimplex, Brachyscome basaltica, Calocephalus lacteus, Calotis spp., Craspedia paludicola, Diurus spp., Eryngium vesiculosum, Helichrysum rutidolepis, Hypoxis spp., Isoetes spp., Lobelia concolor, Lobelia pratioides, Marsilea spp., Microseris spp., Microtis spp., Montia australasica, Ornduffia reniformis, Ottelia spp., Pilularia novae-hollandiae, Potamogeton cheesemanii, Prasophyllum spp., Ranunculus inundatus, Senecio psilocarpus, Swainsona spp., Teucrium spp., Thelymitra spp., Triglochin alcockiae, Triglochin striata, Utricularia spp., Xerochrysum palustre