plants
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

This family contains just 16 species, and all are endemic to Australia.

(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.

Kingia spp., 'Drumsticks'

(Cheynes, W.A)

There is only species in this genus. They look like Xanthorrhoea 'Grass Trees', and in south-western Australia, they often grow close to each other. For many years it was thought that they were the female form of Grass Trees. However, they are not closely related. Where Xanthorrhoea have many tiny flowers on a single long stalk, the Kingia flowers are produced on many shorter 'drumsticks', thus the common name.

(Cheynes, W.A)

Kingia australis. Endemic to south-west Australia. The 'trunk' is made up of old accumulated leaf bases. They are very are slow growing, but since they can live up to four hundred years, they can grow up to six metres.

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 and Macropidia sp. 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. 

(Lesueur NP, W.A.)

Macropidia fuligonosa, 'Black Kangaroo Paw', 'Nollamara'. The only species in it's genus. Open up to reveal green flowers. Endemic to 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

Most flowers that regular people are familiar with have their colour provided by the non-sexual parts, such as the petals. However, like other Proteaceae, the structure and colours of 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.

(Lesueur NP, WA)

Hakea costata, 'Ribbed Hakea'. Small spikey leaves. Pink or white flowers bunched in long rows. Endemic to heath and mallee in a small area just north of Perth.

Isopogon spp. 'Conesticks', 'Coneflowers'

There are about forty species in this genus and they are all endemic to Australia. They are mostly found in temperate woodlands and heath in southern Australia, particularly the south west.

(Lesueur NP, WA)

Isopogon dubius, 'Pincushion Coneflower '. Endemic to south west Australia.

Lambertia spp.

This genus contains 10 species. All are endemic to Australia, and all but one species are endemic to the south-west of Australia. The colourful flowers are dominated by a large floral tube with distinctive tightly curled peeling back lobes.  

(Lesueur NP, W.A)

Lambertia multiflora, 'Many-flowered Honeysuckle'. . There are two varieties of this species: one with yellow flowers, one with red flowers. Endemic to the south west of Australia.

Order Dillenales

Family Dilleniaceae

Hibbertia spp.'Guinea flowers'

There are a few species found in Madagascar, New Guinea and other Pacific islands; but most of the over 400 species are endemic to Australia, with a particular diversity in the south-west. With their round shape and yellow colour they were compared to a 'Guinea coin' and are thus known as Guinea flowers. 

(Leeuwin, W.A.)

Hibbertia (maybe cuneiformis), 'Cut-leaf Hibbertia'. Endemic to south-west Australia.

(Lesueur National Park, W.A)

Hibbertia (maybe hypericoides?). Endemic to south-west Australia.

Order Fabales

Family Fabaceae

Hovea spp.

This is a genus of about 40 species, all of which are endemic to Australia. They are usually shrubs and have purple or blue flowers with a white centre.

(Lesueur National Park, W.A.)

Hovea (maybe stricta).

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 4250 species. They are often found in cooler temperate areas or upland areas in the tropics.

Lysinema spp.

There are 6 species in this genus, and they are all endemic to the south-west of Australia.

(Lesueur NP, W.A)

Lysinema ciliatum , 'Curry Flower'. Endemic to south west Australia.

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

Family Lamiaceae

This family contains mint.

Pityrodia spp.

(Lesueur National Park, W.A)

This genus contains over 40 species. They area all endemic to Australia, and most speciose in south-western Australia. They are sometimes known as 'native Foxglove', which are in a different but related family. They grow as shrubs. The leaves are often reduced and hairy. The flowers have five petals fused into a tube.  

Order Apiales

Order Asterales

Family Asteraceae

With over 32,000 species, this family is probably the biggest family of plants in the world (the Orchidaceae is the only other contender). So there are almost three times more types of plants in just this family than there are species of birds. Many of the plants in this family are known as 'daisies' and include mostly herbs and other small plants. They are found all over the planet, except Antarctica, but including the high country of Himalayas and the Arctic and throughout the tropics. One of the secrets to their success is no doubt their light wind-dispersed seeds; think of blowing onto a dandelion. Thus many species disperse outside their 'natural range' and are known as weeds.   

(Shark Bay, W.A)

? Maybe Pembertonia latisquamea, 'Shark Bay Daisy'. This species is the only member of it's genus.

Family Goodeniaceae

This family includes over 400 species, and are mostly found across the more arid parts of Australia.

Dampiera spp.

This 70 species in this genus are all endemic to Australia. They grow as small herbs, the leaves are sometimes have a toothed edge. The flowers usually have five blue or purple (but sometimes pink or white) petals. Those petals often have wavy margins and end in a double lobe. They are often yellow where the stamens are connected deeper inside the floral tube. While they are found in drier habitats across the continent, more species are found in Western Australia. The genus is named for William Dampier, the infamous buccaneer.

Dampiera altissima, 'Tall Dampiera'. Grey-green leaves. Endemic to an area along the coast just south of Shark Bay, W.A.

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