Plants at Tumbi Wetlands

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Plant Variety

The area in this reserve where Tumbi Wetlands Bushcare works contains two separate regions which merge together without any distinct boundaries.

One is a variant of the Woolybutt-Melaleuca Forest which exists on shallower soils and in which the Woolybutt (Eucalyptus longifolia) is rare or absent, where in this case, the canopy is provided by Eucalyptus robusta and Eucalyptus resinifera ssp. resinifera. It contains an understorey of Melaleucas and has about 75% grass cover.

The other is an Alluvial Floodplain Shrub Swamp Forest in which the canopy trees include the three present at Tumbi Wetlands Bushcare with a significant shrubby understorey.

As a result of this it has quite a large number of species.
So far more than 200 have been identified.

Aquatic Plants

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This area is an ephemeral wetland: sometimes it's wet and sometimes much of it is dry.
There are usually two separate areas of water: one almost permanently wet and supporting a community of aquatic and water loving plants and the other places at the outlets from storm water drains which can dry out after a few months without rain.
These small basins collect a lot of rubbish off the streets, are quite subject to weed invasion and require regular bushcare attention.

Climbers and Creepers

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Most of these creepers and climbers are found in the areas which are regularly dried off and support heathy vegetation.

Some like the parasitic Cassythas are especially found with the shrubs up to about 2 metres tall, Parsonia straminea can be seen reaching to tops of some really tall trees and the Glycines are likely to be found among the grasses and sedges.

The others seem happy to trail along the ground or gain support from shrubs and small trees.


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Graminoids are a diverse group of plants which are grass-like in that they grow in tussocks or are tuffed. They include grasses, sedges, and lilies among others, all monocotyledons. It is a grouping of plants used by Stephen Bell in his 2002 mapping of the area and used here for consistency with his work.


Unlike exotic grasses, most of the grasses here at Tumbi Wetlands grow in tufts or tussocks. Of all the species listed to the left, only Entolasia marginata (or Bordered Panic Grass) and Oplismenus species ( or Basket grasses) have the ability to run strongly with rhizomes or stolons, or by rooting at the nodes. Native grasses are also more likely to feel that the stems are rough, as opposed to smooth stemmed exotic grasses.

Ferns and others

As they are located other fern-like plants will be included in this list.

As the opportunity arises, close-ups of the part of the fronds carrying the spore producing structures, will be included as an inset to the fern photos. While not quite a "fingerprint" for the species, it certainly helps in the identification of them.


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14 of these 24 species of herbs are either ground cover plants or ones that closely hug the ground but several are quite tall and the Matchheads bush can reach heights well over a metre.
NB: A herb is any vascular plant that never produces a woody stem.

Lilies, Irises and Orchids

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Most of these lilies flower regularly but of this list of orchids only 5 have flowered regularly, the three Greenhoods, the Large Tongue Orchid and the Brownbeaks. In the spring of 2006, all of them flowered following fire in the area in December 2005, but since then only the above mentioned 5 have been seen regularly.
The endangered orchid Arthrochilus prolixus was first seen in early 2011 but did not flower in 2012.

Sedges and Rushes

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Gahnia clarkei aka Razor Grass, is clearly the the most abundant sedge in this area, but in some parts others become dominant.

For example in one gently sloping grassland Lepyrodia scariosa is completely dominant.

Some sedges e.g. Juncus holoschoenus likes to be wet but Carex fascicularis seems just as happy wet as dry, while Lepidosperma laterale grows in a place hardly ever inundated by water.

There is a large amount of the exotic sedge Cyperus eragrostis but to date we have not attempted to start removing it.


As explained above, the intersection of the two different ecological communities likely explains the large variety in the shrub population, 32 species listed. It is noticeable that some species are more abundant in one area than the other but there is a clear overlap between the two areas.
Note that a shrub is a woody plant less than 5 metres high, either without a distinct main axis, or with branches persisting on the main axis almost to its base. The smallest are the 30 cm high Pinnate Wedge Pea and the Dwarf Boronia, while the Acacia longifolia reaches over 5 metres in some cases.

What may bee seen as a shrub in the wetland may mature into a small tree. If you cannot find a particular shrub in this list try the list of SmallTrees following.

Small Trees

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Some of these small trees are found in the wetland as shrubs, so if you are looking for a small tree not in this list, try the list of shrubs above.


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While the canopy consists mostly of the 3 trees listed below, there are a number of quite large trees with lower occurrence frequency.


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These are a few plants that do not fit neatly into any of the other groups above.

Main Canopy Trees

Photo of Eucalyptus Robusta Photo of Angophora costata Photo of Eucalyptus haemastoma
Eucalyptus Robusta
Angophora costata
Eucalyptus haemastoma