Nature conservation

Threatened species

Oceanic Rainforests

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Estimated percentage landcover for vegetation class


Structure varies with substrate and exposure. On the calcareous lowland flats and low basalt hills a complex and multi-layered tree canopy may exceed 25 m, and includes banyans, palms and trees with buttress roots. Lianas and epiphytes are common, although there are relatively few species. The understorey comprises a modest variety of shrubs, herbs and ferns. On high on steep exposed slopes there are wind-sheared thickets only 24 m tall, with the dense, even tree canopy lacking buttress roots and epiphytes. Sheltered hill slopes and mountain valleys support forests of intermediate stature and complexity, while some scree slopes support pure groves of palms that grow so densely that their heavy leaf litter excludes virtually all other plants.


The canopy of the tall lowland forests is dominated by Baloghia inophylla (brush bloodwood), Cassine curtipendulum, Cryptocarya triplinervis (three-veined cryptocarya), Drypetes deplanchei subsp. deplanchei (yellow tulipwood), Guioa coriacea (island cedar), Howea belmoreana (curly palm), H. forsteriana (kentia palm), Pandanus forsteri (forked tree), Polyscias cissodendron (island pine), Sophora howinsula (lignum vitae), Syzygium fullageri (scalybark), Xylosma maidenii. A scattered layer of emergent Ficus macrophylla subsp. columnaris (banyan) may be present. Drier exposed slopes are typified by Celtis conferta subsp. amblyophylla (cotton wood), C. curtipetalum, C. triplinervis (three-veined cryptocarya), Dodonaea viscosa subsp. burmanniana (hop bush), Drypetes deplanchei subsp. deplanchei (yellow tulipwood), Olea paniculata (native olive), Planchonella myrsinoides (blunt-leaved coondoo) and Sarcomelicope simplicifolia. Sheltered midslopes of the mountains are dominated by Chionanthus quadristamineus (blue plum), Metrosideros species and Syzygium fullageri (scalybark).


Alyxia ruscifolia (prickly alyxia), Cassinia tenuifolia (bullybush), Coprosma lanceolaris, C. putida (stinkwood), Lordhowea insularis, Macropiper excelsum var. psittacorum (kava), Ochrosia elliptica (berrywood), Rapanea platystigma. Disturbed ground, such as landslide areas, may be colonised by Cassinia tenuifolia, Dodonaea viscosa (hopbush) and Homalanthus nutans (dogwood).


Flagellaria indica (whip vine), Pandorea pandorana (wonga wonga vine), Parsonsia straminea (common silkpod), Smilax australis (sarsaparilla), Trophis scandens subsp. megacarpa.


Commelina cyanea (scurvy weed), Adiantum hispidulum (rough maidenhair), Arthropteris tenella, Diplazium melanochlamys, Doodia caudata (small rasp-fern), Pteris microptera, Pyrrosia confluens var. confluens (horseshoe felt vine), Carex brunnea.


Undulating lowlands below about 600 m elevation on calcarinite and basalt on an oceanic island.


Restricted to Lord Howe Island lowlands, hills and mountain slopes.


A unique group of assemblages with high levels of local endemism, varying with substrate and exposure, and grading into Oceanic Cloud Forests above 500 m elevation. Flora has evolutionary relationships with Northern Warm Temperate Rainforests on the mainland, as well as rainforests of New Zealand and New Caledonia.


Pickard (1983); Hutton (1986)

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