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
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
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
Stringybarks Eucalyptus sp.
She-oaks Allocasuarina torulosa/distyla
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.