Western Slopes 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 with sporadic shrubs and herbs. The dominant tussock grass, Austrostipa aristiglumis (plains grass), may grow in dense swards as tall as 1.5 m, often to the exclusion of other grass species.

Trees

None

Shrubs

Occasional Sclerolaena muricata (black rolypoly) and the introduced Acacia farnesiana (mimosa bush). Rare occurrences of Acacia pendula (myall), Casuarina cristata (belah) or Geijera parviflora (wilga), and Pimelea microcephala (shrubby rice flower) may signify secondary grasslands derived from woodland communities.

Forbs

Abutilon oxycarpum (flannel weed), Boerhavia dominii (tarvine), Calotis scabiosifolia (rough burr-daisy), Cullen tenax (emu-foot), Oxalis perennans, Sida trichopoda (high sida), Solanum esuriale (quena), Aristida leptopoda (white speargrass), Austrodanthonia bipartita (bandicoot grass), Austrostipa aristiglumis (plains grass), Chloris acicularis, C. truncata (windmill grass), Dichanthium sericeum (Queensland bluegrass), Paspalidium constrictum (knottybutt grass), Sporobolus caroli (fairy grass), S. elongatus (slender rats tail grass).

Habitat

Dark grey-brown clays on deeply weathered basalt and associated outwash areas on plains of the north and central western slopes in areas receiving more than 400 mm annual rainfall, alluvial outwash plains and deeply weathered basalt slopes with dark grey-brown clay soils. At just 200-400 m elevation, the rainfall averages 400-650 mm per year with a distinct summer maximum.

Distribution

Liverpool Plains west to Warren and Brewarrina. Also found on the Darling Downs, southern Queensland.

Notes

A widely distributed but poorly known group of assemblages grading locally into Western Slopes Grassy Woodlands and sharing affinties with Western Floodplains Grasslands. Extensively depleted and degrading by agricultural land uses.

Sources

Beadle (1948); Biddiscombe (1963); White (2000); DLWC (2002a)

See all threatened species associated with this vegetation class

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