Flora

Cooleman Ridge has a suprisingly diverse range of flora on it. There are currently over 400 species that have been found on the ridge, with the majority of them being native to the ridge.

The ecology of the ridge, however, has been changed signicantly. The flora cover is a mixture of natives and weeds.

The mission of the Cooleman Ridge Park Care Group and works to restore the native vegetation of the ridge. The group has cleared many of the better areas of weeds and these areas have show major improvement over approximately 25 year history of the group. In particular, the best areas of the ridge are generally our Group Areas, but many high quality areas also exist outside of the group areas.

The group also conducts various surveys that relate to the flora found on the ridge. This include the Plant Survey, the Tree Survey and the Blackberry Survey. These surveys serve many purposes from management through to simple interest.

The following is a list of some of the more common and or easily identified native species found on the ridge. The list intended to provide people who are unfamiliar with the native flora on the ridge a gentle introduction to the dominant native flora found on the ridge. These species are relatively easy to identify, even for a novice. Exotic plants are listed on our weeds page

Blakelys Red Gum (Eucalyptus blakelyii)

Blakely's Red Gum is a medium sized eucalypt. It has a large but thin crown which is fairly crooked in shape. They are prone to dieback where they loose almost all their leaves. This is caused by insect attack and occurs mostly in degraded areas where the understorey has been removed. The leaves will grow back once the insect dies off.

Blakely's Red Gum is good at naturally good recovery. Many young red gum seedlings occur around mature plants when weeds and grazing are removed from the surrounding adult.

Blakely's Red Gum is widely distributed on the ridge. It is generally found on the lower slopes of the ridge. Red Gums found on the ridge are often seasonally unhealthy. Blakely's Red Gum was planted in many of the plantations that have been planted

Good examples of Blakely's Red Gum can be found around the Kathner Street Dam.


Red Box (Eucalyptus polyanthemos)

Red Box is a tall, straight eucalypt. It has a dense crown of branches and leaves. The branches are very crooked and numerous. The leaves are heart shaped. The bark is tessalated (as with all Box trees).

Red Box is widely dispersed through out the ridge. They are generally old and healthy but with few examples of any natural regrowth. Red Box was planted in many of the plantations that have been planted on the ridge.

A good example of one is found in Group Area North.


Yellow Box (Eucalyptus melliodora)

Yellow Box is tall tree. It has a good crown and one of the more attractive eucalypts. The bark is tessalated. The branches are long, straight and vertical. The leaves are long and green in color.

Yellow Box is fairly thinly dispersed on the ridge. It was extensively planted in some othe plantations. It does not seem to naturally regenerated. Many of the specimens found on the ridge are old but still healthy.

The best examples of Yellow Box can be found in Group Area North.


Green Wattle (Acacia Mearnsii)

Green Wattle is small to medium sized tree. it flowers in November with small creamy yellow flowers. In many parts of the world, Green Wattle is consider a highly invasive weed. It is shortlived (like most acacia) and is prone to insect attack. It regenerates well after fire.

Green Wattle is common on the ridge. It is naturally spreading and moving into new areas. It was also extensively planted in the early years of the groups history.

The best examples of Green Wattle are found on the western and eastern slopes of Mt Arawang.


Silver Wattle (Acacia dealbata)

Silver Wattle is a small tree. It has small in leaves that are grey or silver in colour. It is fast growing but short lived for a tree. It has a profusion of yellow flowers in the early spring. It grows throgh suckering.

Silver Wattle was extensively planted in the early history of the group. It is also spreading naturally in many areas. It is often found in gullies and watercourses on the ridge.

Good examples of Silver Wattle can be found around the eastern side of Mt Arawang just below the management trail.


Spear Grass (Austrostipa scabra)

Spear Grass is a small thin grass.

Spear Grass is common on the ridge. It is naturally recovering since grazing has been removed.

The best examples are found in Group Area North.


Weeping Grass (Microlaena stipoides)

Weeping Grass is a small to medium grass. It has long thing leaves that droop horizontally in a weeping manner.

Weeping Grass was fairly uncommon on the ridge until recently. It was probably much more common prior to European settlement but does not perform well under grazing. Weeping Grass recovers well once both grazing and other weeds are removed. It also regenerates well after burning.

The best examples of Weeping Grass are found in the Kathner Street Group Area.


Sticky Everlasting (Xerochrysum viscosum)

Sticky Everlasting is small herbaceous plant with distinctive flowers. The plant has dark green waxy or sticky leaves. The flowers are large and dry. They resemble a common daisy.

Sticky Everlasting is now common on the ridge but had largely disappeared because of grazing pressures. It regenerates well and can form thick patches.

The best example of Sticky Everlasting is found in Kathner Street Group Area on the south western facing slopes.


Australian Bluebell (Wahlenbergia stricta)

Australian Bluebell is a small perennial herb. It has distintive pale blue bell-like flowers in the spring and summer.

Australian Bluebell is common on the ridge and has probably increased its distrubution with the removal of permanent grazing on the ridge.

The best exampls of Australian Bluebell are found in Group Area Central.


Narrawa Burr (Solanum cinereum)

Narrawa Burr is small perennial shrub. It has large lobed dark green leaves. It is has distinctive fruit which resembles a black tomato.

Narrawa Burr is quite common on the ridge and evenly dispersed.

The best examples of Narrawa Burr are found in Group Area North.


Wild Rasberry (Rubus parvifolius)

Wild Rasberry is a small creeping bush. It has small lime green leaves and canes. It develops small, edible red berrys in mid summer which resemble commerically available rasberrys. The leaves a decidious during winter and dry spells.

It is closely related to and closely resembles the weed Blackberry. It is therefore often confused with Blackberry and therefore incorrectly identified as weed.

Wild Rasberry was probably common over most of the ridge but disappeared through grazing pressure. It spreads quite well and is recovering well in many parts of the ridge. However, many parts of the ridge are without this plant.

The best examples of Wild Rasberry are found on the southern slopes of Mt Arawang.


Drooping Sheoak (Allocasuarina verticillata)

Drooping Sheaoak is a small tree. It has long thing leeaves that hang vertically.

Drooping Sheoak it is an imporant food source for the Black Cockatoos, and planting it is actively encouraged by Parks and Conservation.

Drooping Sheoak is fairly common throughout the ridge. It is generally found in higher or steeper undamaged areas of the ridge.

The best examples of Drooping Sheoak is commonly found on Mt Arawang and on some of the other south-western facing slopes along the ridge.


Blackthorn (Bursaria spinosa ssp lasiophylla)

Blackthorn is a medium sized shrub. It has small dark green waxy leaves and small thorns. It is fairly slow growing but a very hardy plant that copes well with both drought and fire. It flowers around Christmas time with a profusion of small creamy colour flowers.

Blackthorn performs many important ecological functions on the ridge such as being a habit for insects and birds that feed on insects that attach larger plants such as Red Gum.

Blackthorn is fairly widespread on the ridge. It was probably common on many of the lower parts of the ridge but has been cleared deliberately or disappeared because of grazing pressure. It is often found on the steeper slopes of the ridge. It is naturally spreading.

The best examples of Blackthorn are found on the southern slopes of Mt Arawang and below the management trail above Kathner Street.


Dogwood (Cassinia aculeata)

Dogwood is a small to medium sized shrub. It has thing, sticky hairy leaves. It has dense clusters of white or creamy flowers during the summer.

Dogwood is common throughout the ridge. It is typically found in the undamaged areas of the ridge such as hilly or south west facing slopes.

The best examples of Dogwood are found on Mt Arawang and in Kathner Street Group Area.


Links

The Department of Environment and Conservation has launched. This new website provides detailed information, maps and photos of more than 900 of the state's most vulnerable native plants and animals.

The Plant Information Network System of the Botanic Gardens Trust. Hosts and links to botanical sites. Quote from their web page: "PlantNET can be searched for information on New South Wales plant names, their distribution and conservation status."

Flora Online - as above.

Australian National Botanic Gardens/environmental weeds

To Be Completed