Maritime Grasslands

Vegetation class map


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

Structure

Closed tussock grassland on rocky substrates, or open grasslands with sparse networks of long runners on unconsolidated beach sands.

Trees

None

Shrubs

Typically none, but there may be scattered Banksia integrifolia subsp. integrifolia (coast banksia), Leucopogon parviflorus (coastal bearded-heath) or Westringia fruticosa (coastal rosemary). Prostrate shrubs on some of the north-coast headlands include Hibbertia serpyllifolia, Pultenaea maritima and the rare Zieria prostrata.

Forbs

Atriplex cinerea (grey saltbush), Canavalia rosea (coastal jack bean), Carpobrotus glaucescens (pigface), Ipomoea pes-caprae subsp. brasiliensis (goats foot), Tetragonia tetragonoides (New Zealand spinach), Vigna marina (dune bean). The following grasses and sedges are found throughout: Austrofestuca littoralis (beach fescue), Isolepis nodosa (knobby club-rush), Lomandra longifolia (spiny-headed mat-rush), Poa poiformis, Sporobolus virginicus (marine couch), Themeda australis (kangaroo grass), Zoysia macrantha (prickly couch), while Spinifex sericeus dominates beach strands.

Habitat

Offshore islands, exposed coastal headlands and beach strandlines continually exposed to salt spray and strong maritime winds. Soils on beach strands are unconsolidated sands, while those on rocky substrates are humic loams. There is frequent soil disturbance by nesting seabirds, king tides and/or oceanic storms.

Distribution

Restricted to small patches on offshore and oceanic islands, headlands and beaches scattered along the New South Wales coastline.  Examples Include the Solitary Island group, Damerals Head, Lord Howe group, Cape Banks, Five Islands and Montague Island, as well as beaches in all coastal national parks.

Notes

A species-poor group of assemblages whose composition varies between isolated patches. Patches on the mainland, where this unit occurs on exposed headlands, are incompletely mapped. Shares limited floristic affinties with Coastal Headland Heaths. Some sites suffer major weed invasion by Pennisetum clandestinum.

Sources

Pickard (1983); Australian Bird-banding scheme (1973-1979); Carolin & Clarke 1991

See all threatened species associated with this vegetation class

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