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Coastal Dune Plants

Coastal Dune Plants along the Tomaree Coast

We’re all familiar with a variety of sprawling plants creeping over the beach sand, with low bushes inland of the beach. Do you know which are natives, and which are weeds invading and displacing our natives. Here we’ll help you find out more and learn to distinguish them.

Plant communities growing on beaches and dunes are influenced primarily by the sand they’re growing in (substrate), wind and salt spray.

Nearer the sea…
— the sand is lower in nutrients and moisture, increasing moving landward.
— exposure to strong winds, salt spray and sandblast is stronger, decreasing moving landward.

This usually creates three main dune vegetation zones — Strandline, Foredune and Hind dune vegetation — arranged roughly parallel to the coastline (Dune vegetation information adapted from Coastal Dune Plants Clarence Coast). The dune vegetation then protects the Coastal Forest.

Unfortunately coastal weeds establish among our dune vegetation. Some such as Bitou are particularly invasive, smothering our native vegetation.

More fact sheets will gradually supplement those below.

On the strandline, hardy herbaceous stabilising plants nearest the sea include Pigface, Beach Spinifex and Fan flower. They grow with the foredune’s stunted windswept shrubs and trees.

Hairy or Beach Spinifex, Spinifex sericeus

Creeping grass with long stolons

Pigface*, Carpobrotus glaucescens

Succulent, sprawling herbaceous plant

Fan Flower*, Scaevola calendulacea

Foredune plants

Here stunted windswept shrubs and trees grow, along with the hardy plants such as Pigface and Fan flower also on the Strandline

Trailing Guinea Flower*, Hibbertia scandens*

Coastal Wattle*, Acacia longifolia

Spiney-headed Mat-rush*, Lomandra longifolia

* these plants are also found in hind dunes and coastal forests

Hind Dune plants

Coast Banksia#, Banksia integrifolia

Coastal Tea-tree, Leptospermum laevigatum

Snake Vine#, Stephania japonica

#These Hind dune plants also grow on the Foredune and are described in Foredune plants:

Coastal Wattle, Acacia longifolia
Spiney-headed Mat-rush, Lomandra longifolia
Trailing Guinea Flower, Hibbertia scandens

Coastal Forest

Blackbutt Eucalyptus pilularis

Smooth-barked Apple Angophora costata

Saw Banksia Banksia serrata

Black Sheoak Allocasuarina littoralis

Monotoca Monotoca elliptica

Acacias, Peas, Epacrids, Boronias, etc.

Groundcovers, eg. Commelina cyanea

Volcanic Headlands

Stringybarks Eucalyptus sp.

She-oaks Allocasuarina torulosa/distyla

Acacia binervia

Honey-myrtle Melaleuca armillaris

Westringia W. fruticosa

restricted species: eg. Melaleuca groveana / Cryptostylis hunteriana

Moist Gullies & Drainage Lines

Wet-adapted species, restricted locations

Blueberry Ash Elaeocarpus reticulatus

Sweet Pittosporum Pittosporum undulatum

Tuckeroo Cupaniopsis anacardioides

Ferns in understory, eg. Blechnum sp.

Invasive coastal weeds

Strandline & Foredune weeds

Bitou Bush^, Chrysanthemoides monilifera

Milkwort^, Polygala myrtifolia

Sea Holly Eryngium maritimum

Grows in exposed conditions though not persistent once shaded. Low priority to control from an invasive perspective, though recreationally unpleasant for bare feet.

Hind Dune weeds

Asparagus Fern^, Asparagus aethiopicus

Chinese Violet^, Asystasia gangetica subspecies micrantha

^Bitou Bush Chrysanthemoides monilifera is also a Strandline & Foredune weed, as well as a Coastal Forest weed

^Milkwort Polygala myrtifolia is also a Strandline & Foredune weed

^Asparagus Fern and Chinese Violet are found in Hind Dune and Coastal Forest, with Chinese Violet particularly problematic in moist gullies.