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Flora of the Australian Capital Territory facts for kids

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The Flora of the Australian Capital Territory are the plants that grow naturally in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). The environments range from Alpine area on the higher mountains, sclerophyll forest, to woodland. Much of the ACT has been cleared for grazing, and is also burnt off by bushfires several times per century. The kinds of plants can be grouped into vascular plants that include gymnosperms, flowering plants, and ferns; bryophytes, lichens, fungi, and freshwater algae. Four flowering plants are endemic to the ACT. Also several lichens are unique to the ACT, however as further study is undertaken they are likely to be found elsewhere too.

Most plants in the ACT are characteristic of the Flora of Australia and include well known plants such as Grevillea, Eucalyptus trees and kangaroo grass.

Vegetation habitats

Grassland originally occurred on the low plains around north Canberra, Woolshed creek in Majura, Jerrabomberra Creek in Symonston, Gerrabomberra Creek in Belconnen, Tuggeranong Creek in Isabella Plains and Yarralumla Creek in Woden Valley. Almost all of these areas have been built over by suburbs, or modified by farming. The main plants from the grasslands were Stipa, Danthonia and Themeda (spear grass, wallaby grass and kangaroo grass). Trees do not exists on the grasslands due to the frost hollow effect where cold heavy air sinks on frosty mornings killing off larger vegetation. The remains of the grasslands are now full of introduced weeds and grasses. A small reserve of remnant grasslands is found at Yarramundi on the north side of Lake Burley Griffin.

Most of the trees in the ACT are Eucalyptus species.

Low altitude woodland is dominated by Eucalyptus melliodora (yellow box) and Eucalyptus polyanthemos (red box). E. blakelyi is found in lower lying areas. E. bridgesiana grows along creeks. In sandy soil near rivers Casuarina cunninghamiana is common. On the border between woodland and grassland Eucalyptus pauciflora (snow gum) and Eucalyptus rubida are the only trees growing. These trees can survive lower temperatures.

High altitude woodland occupies the floor of the higher valleys in the south of the ACT. The trees are dominated by E. stellulata (black sally) and snowgums.

On the ground above the woodland there is dry sclerophyll forest. The trees in this are Eucalyptus dives (broad leaved peppermint), E. mannifera var maculosa (red spotted gum), the scribbly gum (Eucalyptus rossii) and red stringy gum (Eucalyptus macrorhyncha). Mount Majura, Mount Ainslie, Bullen Range, and Black Mountain are covered in this kind of forest. Dry sclerophyll forest also grows on the north and west side of hills, below 660 metres, which is warmer and drier. Gulleys in this kind of forest can contain Eucalyptus viminalis (manna gum) and Eucalyptus radiata var robertsonii (narrow leaved peppermint).

Wet sclerophyll forest is found growing on the western mountainous parts of the ACT where rain fall is higher and the ground is more elevated. E. fastigata (brown barrel) and Eucalyptus delegatensis (alpine ash) dominate the forest. Dense shrubs up to five metres high form an understorey. Examples of these are Leptospermum lanigerum, Pomaderris aspera, Olearia argophylla, and Bedfordia salicina. The top side of this forest has Eucalyptus dalrympleana and E. pauciflora starting to take over.

Alpine woodland is found in the highest levels of the ACT with E. pauciflora the dominant tree. This grows either thinly or in clumps, with the intervening ground feature Poa species.

Vascular plants found only in the ACT

Kambah Karpet Acacia dealbata
Kambah Karpet a variety of Acacia dealbata discovered at the Kambah Village

Pomaderris pallida family Rhamnaceae. Found along Murrumbidgee, Cotter, Paddys and Molonglo Rivers. A round bush 1 to 2 metres high, creamish coloured flowers.

Arachnorchis actensis (Canberra Spider-orchid).

Lepidium ginninderrense (Ginninderra Peppercress). Found in the Northwest corner of the Belconnen Naval Transmission Station at Lawson

Muehlenbeckia tuggeranong (Tuggeranong Lignum). The plant takes the form of a mound of tangled stems 1 m high and 2 m across. Found near Pine Island on the Murrumbidgee River but is extremely rare.

Corunastylis ectopa (Brindabella Midge-orchid, Ectopic Midge-orchid).


Only two species of gymnosperms are native to the ACT. These are a shrub called Podocarpus lawrencei (mountain plum pine) and a small tree Callitris endlicheri (black cypress pine). The cypress grows in steep stony soil in places such as Molonglo Gorge, Murrumbidgee River valley and Ginninderra Gorge.

Other gymnosperms are cultivated in the ACT such as Pinus radiata.

Endemic Lichens of the ACT

Australian Capital Territory has 384 known species of lichens of which 8 are endemic. Study continues on these life forms, so more will be discovered.

The following are found in the ACT, but not in other parts of Australia, those in bold are endemic to the ACT. Those not in bold are found in other parts of the world, but not elsewhere in Australia.

Buellia molonglo (U.Grube & Elix)

Lecanora placodiolica (Lumbsch & Elix)

Malcolmiella cinereovirens Vezda var. isidiata (Vezda),

Pyrrhospora arandensis (Elix)

Xanthoparmelia hyposalazinica (Elix)

Xanthoparmelia paraparmeliformis (Elix)

Xanthoparmelia parasitica (Elix)

Xanthoparmelia subluminosa (Hale)

Collema fragrans

Fellhanera parvula

Fuscopannaria granulans

Lepraria caesioalba (de Lesd.)

Micarea denigrata (Fr.)

Peltigera dilacerata (Gyeln.)

Common lichens in the ACT

  • Note: The lichens here are not endemic to the ACT.

Chrysothrix candellaris - yellow crustose lichen on wood

Ramboldia petraeoides crustose form on stone

Flavoparmelia rutidota is a green foliose lichen found on wood and rocks.

Thamnolia vermicularis is found in high parts of Namadgi National Park - and polar regions (not in ACT).

Rhizocarpon geographicum (map lichen)

List of ACT Lichens

Singular Species

  • Acarospora citrina
  • Amygdalaria pelobotryon
  • Austrella arachnoidea
  • Bacidina apiahica
  • Baeomyces heteromorphus
  • Bapalmuia buchananii
  • Candelaria concolor
  • Carbonea montevidensis
  • Cetraria australiensis
  • Chrysothrix candelaris
  • Clauzadeana macula
  • Coccocarpia palmicola
  • Cyphelium trachylioides
  • Dibaeis arcuata
  • Diplotomma canescens
  • Dirinaria applanata
  • Fellhanera parvula
  • Fuscidea australis
  • Halecania australis
  • Hertelidea pseudobotryosa
  • Hyperphyscia adglutinata
  • Immersaria athroocarpa
  • Imshaugia aleurites
  • Leprocaulon microscopicum
  • Leptogium coralloideum
  • Malcolmiella cinereovirens
  • Melanelia piliferella
  • Neophyllis melacarpa
  • Normandina pulchella
  • Orphniospora moriopsis
  • Pannaria elixii
  • Parmeliopsis ambigua
  • Peltula euploca
  • Placopsis perrugosa
  • Placynthiella icmalea
  • Poeltiaria corralensis
  • Protoparmelia badia
  • Pseudephebe pubescens
  • Psilolechia lucida
  • Relicina subnigra
  • Sarcogyne regularis
  • Schaereria fuscocinerea
  • Thamnolia vermicularis
  • Toninia bullata
  • Trapelia coarctata
  • Trapeliopsis granulosa
  • Tremolecia atrata
  • Tylothallia pahiensis

Buellia Genus

  • B. georgei
  • B. molonglo
  • B. pruinosa
  • B. substellulans

Calicium Genus

  • C. adspersum
  • C. hyperelloides
  • C. salicinum
  • C. trabinellum
  • C. tricolor
  • C. victorianum

Caloplaca Genus

  • C. cinnabarina
  • C. erythrosticta

Candelariella Genus

  • C. aurella
  • C. vitellina
  • C. xanthostigma
  • C. xanthostigmoides

Canopermelia Genus

  • C. corrugativa
  • C. norpruinata
  • C. pruinata

Chaenotheca Genus

  • Ch. brunneola
  • Ch. chlorella
  • Ch. trichialis
  • Ch. debilis
  • Ch. pusilla

Cladia Genus

  • C. aggregata
  • C. corallaizon
  • C. inflata
  • C. retipora
  • C. schizopora

Cladonia Genus

  • C. bimberiensis
  • C. capitellata
  • C. capitellata
  • C. capitellata
  • C. celata
  • C. cervicornis
  • C. chlorophaea
  • C. corniculata
  • C. enantia
  • C. fimbriata
  • C. floerkeana
  • C. furcata
  • C. glebosa
  • C. homosekikaica
  • C. humilis
  • C. humilis
  • C. imbricata
  • C. krempelhuberi
  • C. macilenta
  • C. merochlorophaea
  • C. nudicaulis
  • C. ochrochlora
  • C. paeminosa
  • C. pertricosa
  • C. pleurota
  • C. pyxidata
  • C. ramulosa
  • C. rigida
  • C. rigida
  • C. sarmentosa
  • C. scabriuscula
  • C. staufferi
  • C. subcariosa
  • C. subradiata
  • C. subsquamosa
  • C. sulcata
  • C. tenerrima
  • C. tessellata

Collema Genus

  • C. durietzii
  • C. flaccidum
  • C. fragrans
  • C. laeve
  • C. leucocarpum
  • C. quadriloculare
  • C. subflaccidum

Diploschistes Genus

  • D. euganeus
  • D. gyrophoricus
  • D. muscorum
  • D. scruposus
  • D. thunbergianus

Endocarpon Genus

  • E. helmsianum
  • E. pusillum

Flavoparmelia Genus

  • F. haysomii
  • F. rutidota
  • F. springtonensis

Fuscopannaria Genus

  • F. crustata
  • F. decipiens
  • F. granulans
  • F. subimmixta

Hafellia Genus

  • H. procellarum
  • H. tetrapla

Heterodea Genus

  • H. beaugleholei
  • H. muelleri

Hypocenomyce Genus

  • H. australis
  • H. foveata
  • H. friesii
  • H. scalaris

Hypogymnia Genus

  • H. billardierei
  • H. enteromorphoides
  • H. kosciuskoensis
  • H. lugubris
  • H. mundata
  • H. pulverata
  • H. subphysodes
  • H. subphysodes
  • H. tubularis
  • H. turgidula

Hypotrachyna Genus

  • H. immaculata
  • H. revoluta

Lecanora Genus

  • L. bicincta
  • L. caesiorubella
  • L. demersa
  • L. dispersa
  • L. epibryon
  • L. epibryon
  • L. farinacea
  • L. flavidomarginata
  • L. galactiniza
  • L. intricata
  • L. lugubris
  • L. oreinoides
  • L. placodiolica
  • L. planaica
  • L. pseudistera
  • L. pseudogangaleoides
  • L. swartzii

Lecidea Genus

  • L. atromorio
  • L. capensis
  • L. contigua
  • L. crassilabra
  • L. fuscoatrula
  • L. lapicida
  • L. ochroleuca

Lecidella Genus

  • L. elaeochroma
  • L. stigmatea
  • L. sublapicida

Lepraia Genus

  • L. atlantica
  • L. caesioalba
  • L. jackii
  • L. lobificans
  • L. vouauxii

Lobaria Genus

  • L. isidiophora
  • L. scrobiculata

Menegazzia Genus

  • M. aeneofusca
  • M. nothofagi
  • M. platytrema

Micarea Genus

  • M. assimilata
  • M. denigrata

Mycobilimbia Genus

  • M. australis
  • M. hypnorum

Ochrolechia Genus

  • O. africana
  • O. pallescens

Pannoparmelia Genus

  • P. angustata
  • P. wilsonii

Paraporpidia Genus

  • P. glauca
  • P. leptocarpa

Parmelia Genus

  • P. erumpens
  • P. protosignifera
  • P. pseudotenuirima
  • P. signifera
  • P. sulcata
  • P. tenuirima

Parmelina Genus

  • P. conlabrosa
  • P. endoleuca
  • P. labrosa
  • P. pseudorelicina

Parmelinopsis Genus

  • P. afrorevoluta
  • P. subfatiscens

Parmotrema Genus

  • P. chinense
  • P. clavuliferum
  • P. haitiense
  • P. reticulatum
  • P. subtinctorium

Peltigera Genus

  • P. didactyla
  • P. dilacerata
  • P. dolichorrhiza

Pertusaria Genus

  • P. elliptica
  • P. gibberosa
  • P. leucothelia
  • P. lophocarpa
  • P. subventosa

Phaeophyscia Genus

  • P. hispidula
  • P. orbicularis

Physcia Genus

  • P. adscendens
  • P. jackii
  • P. nubila
  • P. poncinsii
  • P. tribacia

Placynthium Genus

  • P. nigrum
  • P. subradiatum

Porpidia Genus

  • P. contraponenda
  • P. crustulata
  • P. speirea

Pseudocyphellaria Genus

  • P. crocata
  • P. desfontainii
  • P. neglecta

Punctelia Genus

  • P. borreri
  • P. pseudocoralloidea
  • P. subalbicans
  • P. subrudecta

Pyrrhospora Genus

  • P. arandensis
  • P. laeta

Ramalina Genus

  • R. fimbriata
  • R. glaucescens
  • R. inflata
  • R. unilateralis

Ramboldia Genus

  • R. petraeoides
  • R. plicatula
  • R. stuartii
  • R. subnexa

Rhizocarpon Genus

Rimularia Genus

  • R. exigua
  • R. insularis
  • R. psephota

Rinodina Genus

  • R. asperata
  • R. murrayi
  • R. occulta
  • R. oxydata
  • R. pyrina
  • R. thiomela

Stereocaulon Genus

  • S. corticatulum
  • S. ramulosum

Teloschistes Genus

  • T. chrysophthalmus
  • T. fasciculatus
  • T. sieberianus
  • T. velifer

Tephromelia Genus

  • T. atra
  • T. sorediata

Thysanothecium Genus

  • Th.hookeri
  • Th. scutellatum

Umbilicaria Genus

  • U. cylindrica
  • U. hirsuta
  • U. hyperborea
  • U. polyphylla
  • U. subglabra

Usnea Genus

  • U. inermis
  • U. maculata
  • U. molliuscula
  • U. rubicunda
  • U. scabrida
  • U. subalpina
  • U. torulosa

Verrucaria Genus

  • V. baldensis
  • V. hydrela
  • V. nigrescens

Xanthoparmelia Genus

  • X. amplexula
  • X. arapilensis
  • X. atrocapnodes
  • X. australasica
  • X. austroalpina
  • X. barbatica
  • X. barbellata
  • X. bicontinens
  • X. burmeisteri
  • X. cheelii
  • X. congensis
  • X. congesta
  • X. consociata
  • X. cordillerana
  • X. delisei
  • X. delisiella
  • X. dichotoma
  • X. digitiformis
  • X. dissitifolia
  • X. elaeodes
  • X. elixii
  • X. exillima
  • X. filarszkyana
  • X. flavescentireagens
  • X. franklinensis
  • X. furcata
  • X. glabrans
  • X. glareosa
  • X. hypoprotocetrarica
  • X. hyposalazinica
  • X. iniquita
  • X. isidiigera
  • X. lineola
  • X. lithophiloides
  • X. loxodella
  • X. luminosa
  • X. luteonotata
  • X. masonii
  • X. metaclystoides
  • X. metamorphosa
  • X. mexicana
  • X. microcephala
  • X. mougeotina
  • X. murina
  • X. nebulosa
  • X. neorimalis
  • X. neotinctina
  • X. nigrocephala
  • X. norcapnodes
  • X. notata
  • X. oleosa
  • X. paraparmeliformis
  • X. parasitica
  • X. parviloba
  • X. pertinax
  • X. pseudohypoleia
  • X. pulla
  • X. pustuliza
  • X. reptans
  • X. rubrireagens
  • X. rupestris
  • X. scabrosa
  • X. scotophylla
  • X. semiviridis
  • X. spodochroa
  • X. squamariatella
  • X. stygiodes
  • X. subcrustacea
  • X. subincerta
  • X. subluminosa
  • X. subnuda
  • X. subprolixa
  • X. substrigosa
  • X. taractica
  • X. tasmanica
  • X. tegeta
  • X. thamnoides
  • X. trirosea
  • X. ustulata
  • X. verisidiosa
  • X. verrucella
  • X. xanthofarinosa
  • X. xanthomelaena

Xanthoria Genus

  • X. ligulata
  • X. parietina

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