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AUSTRALASIAN Heathland 

The beautiful and incredibly diverse plants of the Australian Kwongan and other heathlands...

Kingdom Plantae

There is an extraordinary diversity of plants on the heathlands of the south west, and this is reflected in a beautiful and inspiring range of flowers. The numerous flowers attract insects, honeyeaters and specialised nectar-feeding mammals, such as Honey Possum. 

Order Laurales

Family Lauraceae

Cassytha spp. 'Dodder Laurel'

In a different family from the true dodders, but look almost exactly the same if no flowers or fruits to be seen. Most species are found in Australia, but a few species have been widespread across tropics of the world. 

(Leeuwin, Western Australia)

Cassytha sp. 'Dodder Laurel' have leafless twining stems that...

(Leeuwin, Western Australia)

...cover over plants like a blanket. Some species do very well in exposed coastal situations.

Order Arecales

Family Dasypogonaceae

(Lesueur National Park)

Calectasia spp. 'Tinsel Lilies'. There are species in this genus. Small shrubs with stems of upright stiff leaves, usually slightly hairy. One species is found in south-eastern Australia, while the rest are endemic to the south-west of Australia. They usually grow in sandy soil, and the flowers are thought to be buzz pollinated.

Order Asparagales

Family Orchidaceae

Caladenia spp.

This genus contains some 350 species, most of which are found in Australia, especially the south west. In Western Australia, it is the most species rich orchid. They are mostly terrestrial. There are three main groups: the 'Spider Orchids', the 'Zebra Orchids', and the 'Cowslip Orchids'. 

(Lesueur National Park, W.A)

Caladenia sp. 'Cowslip Orchid'.

Order Commelinales

Family Haemodoraceae

(Lesueur National Park, Western Australia)

Blancoa canescens, 'Winter Bell'. Endemic to the sandy soils of south western Australia.

Anigozanthos spp. includes 'Kangaroo Paws'

Common Catspaw (image by Damon Ramsey)(Lesueur National Park, W.A).

Anigozanthos humilis, 'Common Catspaw'. Flowers are yellow turning red. Found in open woodland and heaths, across  but only in south-west Australia. 

Conostylis spp., 'Cone Flowers'

This genus contains over 35 species and they are endemic to the south-west of Australia.

Conostylis robusta. Endemic to sandy habitats in a small area around the coast north of Perth

Order Proteales

Family Proteaceae

Like other Proteaceae, the structure and colours of a Grevillea flowers are dominated by the female parts.

Banksia spp.

Banksia ericifolia (Kings Park, Australia). Found in cliff and/or coastal heathlands in eastern NSW.  

Scarlet Banksia (image by Damon Ramsey)

Banksia coccinea, 'Scarlet Banksia' (Cheynes Beach). Bright red flowers. Reported to flower in spring, although this one was in winter. Attracts honeyeaters for pollination. Found along southern coast of south-west Australia, inland to Stirling Range. One of the more popular Banksias in the cut flower industry.

Hakea spp.

(Lesueur NP, WA)
(Lesueur NP, WA)

Hakea neurophylla, 'Pink-flowered Hakea'. As suggested by the scientific epithet, the leaves have obvious veins. Endemic to sandy soils in a small area just north of Perth.


Hakea conchifolia, 'Shell-leaved Hakea'. The leaves have spines along edge and form cup shapes. Endemic to sandy soils in a small area just north of Perth.

Order Myrtales

Family Myrtaceae

Ecologically the most dominant and important family in Australia, and certainly a large part of the heathlands

Eucalyptus spp.

Not quite the biggest genus of plants in Australia (that record belongs to Acacia), but arguably the most important.  There are some beautiful Eucalypts in the south-west region of Australia, and they are of course the dominant tree that makes up the ecosystem and name of 'Mallee'. 

(Kings Park, Australia)

Eucalyptus macrocarpa, 'Mottlecah'. Mallee form. Silver leaves, round, arranged tightly opposite along branches. The largest flower of any Eucalyptus, bright red in colour. Large following 'gumnut'. Endemic to the northern heathlands of south-western Australia.

(Cheynes, W.A)

Eucalyptus decipiens/adesmophloia, 'Red Heart'. Mallee bush or tree. Found in various open habitats in south-west Australia.

Beaufortia spp.

Some species are called 'Bottlebrush' and they are related and look similar to the genus Callistemon. There are some 22 species in this genus. They are all endemic to the south west of Australia.

Beaufortia (Kings Park, Australia).

Calytrix spp.

(Lesueur National Park)

Calytrix brevifolia, 'Short-leaved Starflower'. Endemic to the sandy soils of the south west Australia along the coast north of Perth between Geraldton and Shark Bay.

Darwinia spp. 'Mountain Bells'

A genus of about 70 species, found in south-eastern and south western Australia, with the majority found in the latter region. Yes, the genus was named after Charles Darwin. Most species are small bushes, with many species being prostrate. In some species the flowers are surrounded and dominated by more colourful bracts which may hang down, and thus give them the common name of 'bells'.

(Lesueur National Park, W.A)

Darwinia virescens, 'Murchison Darwinia'. Endemic to sandy soils in a small range around Kalbarri, south-west Australia.

Verticordia spp. 'Featherflowers'

Most of the 100 species are found in the sandy soils of the heathlands of south-west Australia. 

Verticordia ethteliana, (Kings Park, Australia).

Order Ericales

Family Ericaceae: 'Heath' and 'Heathers'

A large family with 4200 species. They are often found in cooler temperate areas or upland areas in the tropics.

Conostephium spp.

There are 12 species in this genus and they are all endemic to the south-west of Australia.

(Lesueur National Park)

Conostephium pendulum, 'Pearl Flower'. Endemic to the sandy soils of the south west Australia along the coast south of Perth to south of Shark Bay.

Order Solanales
Order Lamiales
Order Apiales
Order Asterales

Back to the page for the Australian heathlands

Updates
Throughout the virus I am working in Australia on and off as local borders close, mostly in the Kimberley with Coral Expeditions (May-September). If you can't go travelling until everything settles down, then until then, here I am doing online guided walks for Noble Caledonia and online lectures for Silversea.