Littoral Rainforests

Vegetation class map


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

Structure

Structure varies depending on exposure to salt-bearing winds. On the most exposed headlands, Littoral Rainforests take the form of dense, species-poor, wind-sheared thickets only a few metres tall. In more sheltered locations, the tree canopy is more diverse, sometimes includes palms, and may exceed 20 m in height. Buttressed tree trunks are very uncommon, and the understorey is usually sparse and dominated by herbs and several ubiquitous vines. There are relatively few ferns, although these and epiphyes are more common in sheltered locations.

Trees

Acmena hemilampra (broad-leaved lilly pilly), A. smithii (lilly pilly), Banksia integrifolia subsp. integrifolia (coast banksia), Cupaniopsis anacardioides (tuckeroo), Drypetes deplanchei subsp. deplanchei (yellow tulipwood), Euroschinus falcata var. falcata (ribbonwood), Ficus macrophylla subsp. macrophylla (Moreton Bay fig), F. obliqua (small-leaved fig), Glochidion ferdinandi (cheese tree), Myoporum acuminatum, Pisonia umbellifera (birdlime tree), Polyscias elegans (celerywood), Podocarpus elatus (plum pine), Syzygium luehmannii (riberry), S. paniculatum.

Shrubs

Breynia oblongifolia (coffee bush).

Scramblers

Hibbertia scandens (climbing guinea flower), Pandorea pandorana (wonga wonga vine).

Forbs

Oplismenus imbecillus

Habitat

Coastal sand plains and headlands on a variety of substrates including deep sand dunes, basalts, rhyolites, and mudstones. Generally within a kilometre of the sea, where they gain a substantial input of nutrients from sea spray.

Distribution

Scattered along the coast in small stands, mainly north from the Illawarra, with outlying stands further south to Bermagui. Most common along the north coast, extending into south-east Queensland. Examples occur at Iluka, Cape Byron, Sea Acres, Mungo Brush, Cabbage Tree Island and Yacaaba Head, Jibbon Beach and the Garrawarra escarpment, Minnamurra Point and Bunga Head.

Notes

Moderate to low species-richness with floristic affinities to Subtropical Rainforests. Sometimes grading into other rainforest systems with increasing distance from the coast. Urban development and sand mining have considerably reduced the naturally fragmented distribution of Littoral Rainforests along the coast. Weeds, such as Chrysanthemoides monilifera (bitou bush), Lantana camara (lantana) and Protasparagus aethiopicus (asparagus fern) also pose threats.

Sources

Floyd (1990); Myerscough & Carolin (1985)

See all threatened species associated with this vegetation class

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