Alpine Fjaeldmarks

Vegetation class map


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Key:
<1%
1-10%
10-50%
>50%
Estimated percentage landcover for vegetation class

Structure

Fjaeldmark of widely-spaced compact, ground-hugging, wind-pruned shrubs up to 25 cm tall, interspersed with small scattered tussocks grass and herbs

Trees

None

Shrubs

Ridges are dominated by Chionohebe densifolia, Colobanthus pulvinatus (hard cushion-plant), Epacris microphylla (coral heath), E. petrophila (snow heath), Ewartia nubigena (brown edelweiss) and Kelleria dieffenbachii. These typically grow in a wind-pruned mat form, with some developing cushion forms. The cushion plants Colobanthus affinis (alpine colobanthus), C. nivicola (soft cushion-plant) and C. pulvinatus (hard cushion-plant) are associated with snowdrifts, as is the mat-forming shrub Coprosma niphophila.

Forbs

On exposed ridges Leucochrysum albicans subsp. alpinum, Luzula australasica subsp. dura, Ranunculus muelleri (felted buttercup) and Scleranthus singuliflorus occur. Epilobium tasmanicum (snow willow-herb), Plantago glacialis and Ranunculus anemoneus (anemone buttercup), are associated with snowdrifts. Grasses include Erythranthera australis and Rytidosperma nivicolum.

Habitat

The most severe of alpine habitats that are exposed either to cold, desiccating winds, or to constant seepage of near-freezing water emanating from semi-permanent snow drifts. Snow cover is relatively short-lived on windswept stonefields, where the substrate is typically phyllite. However, on leeward slopes and saddles, the snow may persist for much of the year.

Distribution

Restricted to the most exposed parts of Kosciuszko plateau. Also occurs in the Victorian alps.

Notes

A highly distinctive and restricted group of assemblages sharing a few species with Alpine Heaths. Varies in composition between cold, very exposed ridges and leeward slopes with late-lying snowdrifts. Occurrence in New South Wales is entirely within Kosciuszko national park.

Sources

Costin (1954); Wimbush & Costin (1973)

See all threatened species associated with this vegetation class

See a list of species, populations and ecological communities associated with the Alpine Fjaeldmarks vegetation class.