Endemic Tasmanian Flora
Islands are often the source of unusual and relictual animals and plants - the long isolation allowing sufficient time for speciation as well as providing specific habitats and / or microclimates that provide an opportunity for a plant or animal to survive whilst becoming extinct on a nearby continent. Tasmania, being an island south of mainland Australia is a great example of this: Many of its plants have their origins from the Gondwanan era and show links to plants from South America and New Zealand. This is especially true for many of the alpine species that inhabit the iconic mountains of the south and west of the state - this area also has a high proportion of endemic species. While some of Tasmania's endemic conifers are featured on another page, below are some photos of some interesting plants that you may encounter on your travels to the mountains of Tasmania.
Known locally as 'Fagus' or 'Tanglefoot', Nothofagus gunni is Australia's only cool climate deciduous tree - above in bud, below in full leaf and finally in autumn colour.
Above: In early October, looking across Robert Tarn on Tarn Shelf, Mt Field NP. The clearly identifiable patches of light grey are groves of Nothofagus gunni in its deciduous phase. Punctuated with the occasional green triangle of a Pencil Pine. Below, the same patch in early May
Above and below: Cushion plant colonies grow in tight mounds, as a protective device against the extreme cold and wind experienced in the high alpine moors. The mountain in the background is Florentine Peak.
Above and below: Abrotanella forsteroides, growing near the summit of Tasmania's tallest mountain, Mt Ossa
Above: the world's smallest eucalypt! Eucalyptus vernicosa - here growing prostrate on a rock shelf at about 1000m altitude in the Southern Range.
Above: Constantly blasted by the south westerly winds this Creeping Geebung, Persoonia moscalii, is hugging the rock for survival
Orites milliganii - forming a natural bonsai on the shore of Lake Cygnus, Western Arthur Range
Above: Pandani, Richea pandanifolia, on the way up The Acropolis - 'Pandani' is actually a giant member of the heath family of plants and is a common sight in the alpine regions of the south and west. Below, the same species lining a creek along button grass plains near Cradle Mountain.
Above: Pandani in the foreground, autumnal colours of the fagus on the hill over the lake.
Above: Richea scoparia - While the needle like foliage can be the bane of bushwalkers trying to walk in untracked terrain, a sea of scoparia flowers in bloom is a wonderful sight.
Above: Christmas Bells, Blandfordia punacea
Above and below: the wonderful autumn bark of the Alpine Yellow gum - Eucalyptus subcrenulata
Above and below: Eucalyptus coccifera - Snow Peppermint, on the walk to Shadow lake and Little Mt Huegel