FLORA AT NEWNES

What is on this page:
1. Introduction 2. Habitats 3. The Wollemi Pine 4. Acacia area 5. Further Reading
Go to the bottom of this page for links to other pages on this web site.
Please Note: This page on flora is still being prepared. Any assistance would be appreciated.

Introduction:
It was intended to produce full flora lists for the environments surrounding the Newnes area. This has since proved to be a large task and one that goes well beyond the aims of this web site. Flora check lists (now in preparation) will only cover the more obvious plant groups.
The Bibliography (below) lists the major references for flora in the Newnes area. The flora check lists now being prepared will be based on Benson & Keith.
Online, some information can be obtained from the National Parks and Wildlife Service "Wildlife Atlas", although information appears to be somewhat limited at this stage. However, it does include a number of introduced and weed species, which are not covered by some other lists.
A good general discussion on vegetation in the Blue Mountains can be found on the NPWS Blue Mountains National Park pages. Much of the information there applies equally well to the Newnes and Newnes Plateau areas.

Habitats:
There are several different habitat types in and around Newnes. For the purposes of the lists being prepared for this web-site, they are called:
  • Farms and cleared areas along the Wolgan River (= "modified" areas): (Benson & Keith: "C - Cleared")
  • Talus slopes: (Benson & Keith: "10i - Talus slope woodland")
  • Gorges: (Benson & Keith: ?"9j - Montain Gully Forest")
  • Cliff tops: (Benson & Keith: "21d - Pagoda Rock Complex")
  • Plateau: (Benson & Keith: "9i - Blue Mountains Sandstone Plateau Forest")
  • The lists being prepared for this web-site have largely been extracted from Benson & Keith (1990) (see "Further Reading" below), which covered the whole Wallerawang map area.
  • Listed habitat areas often merge into adjacent areas.
  • There are many more different habitat areas on the Newnes Plateau south of Deane that are covered by Benson & Keith (1990). These areas are beyond the scope of this web-site.
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The Wollemi Pine:
Although there are no wild examples growing in the immediate Newnes area, the "Wollemi Pine" (Wollemia nobilis) is a substantial tree found naturally in a few places within the wildness areas of Wollemi National Park. This tree was first described in 1994. With fewer than 100 trees known to exist in the wild, the Wollemi Pine is now the focus of extensive research to safeguard its survival.
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"Acacia" - Educational Area:
Several Acacia (wattle) plants were planted some years ago opposite the kiosk for educational purposes. They demonstrate some aspects of the "leafed" wattles (often called the "black wattle" group) and also as an introduction to Acacia generally. The surviving trees are located at the back of the parking area opposite the kiosk.
  • Acacia filicifolia (fern-leaf wattle)
    This is the dominant Acacia at Newnes. It is a shrubby type of tree that flowers in August. It is recommended to take a small sample (a single pinnae (part of a leaf) consisting of numerous pinules would do) of the local wattle to compare with the planted examples.
Most (but not all) of the example plants flower at about the same time as the local Newnes wattle. From north to south the example plants are:
  • Acacia mearnsii (black wattle)
    A large, but short-lived tree. It flowers in early summer, which is much later than the other examples here. The pinnae is slightly smaller than that on the local wattle.
  • Acacia melanoxylon (blackwood)
    This was planted at about the same time as the others, but, unlike the others, this is a slow-growing and long-lived plant that should grow, in time, into a shapely tree. As its common name suggests, it is a good timber tree. It has phyllodes rather than leaves, although, if damaged, it sometimes produces leaves on the new growth.
Three other trees were growing here, but have since died. Acacias generally have a short life . You may find them elsewhere and they are of particular interest to compare to the others here at Newnes.
  • Acacia decurrens (green wattle)
    A large, but short-lived tree, which is quite spectacular when in flower in spring. Note the large pinnae with long pinules. This is about as large as they get! This tree grows naturally in the broader parts of the Wolgan Valley.
  • Acacia cardiophylla (Wyalong wattle)
    This is a smallish shrub which is also quite spectacular when in flower. The leaf is "bipinnate", and you would need to look closely at the pinnae to see the minute (1mm long) pinules. This is about as small as they get!
  • Acacia rubida (red-stemmed wattle)
    This is a good wattle to demonstrate both leaves and "phyllodes". As a young plant, it will have bipinnate leaves with slightly rounded pinules. Typically, at the base of a semi-mature shrub, you would still see bipinnate leaves, some with the leaf stalk ("petiole") swollen to a leaf-like shape. On the upper parts of this plant, the leaves would have disappeared, having been replaced by these swollen sections called "phyllodes".
You might know of other leafed wattles and some, like A. baileyana (Cootamundra wattle), are quite distinctive. Cootamundra wattle is often grown in domestic gardens, but does have a tendancy to become a weed in some areas.
Did you know?
  • Acacias are legumous plants that fix nitrogen into the soil. They are often short-lived colonisers that assist the establishment of more permanent plants, such as Eucalypts. Acacias also grow in arid areas and are often the dominant tree in such areas.
  • There are many Acacias in Australia and most of these are only found in Australia. However, Acacia is also found overseas, such as in arid areas of Africa and the Middle East.
    In Exodus 25, Moses was directed to make his "ark", parts of his "tabernacle" and most of his furniture out of "Acacia wood" - A. albida, A. tortilis or A. iraqensis being the likely sources.
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Further Reading:
  • Benson, D.H. and Keith, D.A., 1990. THE NATURAL VEGETATION OF THE WALLERAWANG 1:100,000 MAP SHEET Cunninghamia, 2(2): pp.147-341. Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney.
    (This work has been the main reference for the Newnes area and contains a flora list. However, it only looks at the natural vegetation of the area and excludes much of Newnes and the floor of the Wolgan Valley since these areas were modified by human occupancy.)
  • Benson, D., Howell, J. and McDougall, L., 1996. MOUNTAIN DEVIL TO MANGROVE. A guide to Natural Vegetation in the Hawkesbury - Nepean Catchment. 68pp. Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney.
    (This is a more accessible version of the above. However, while it covers a much bigger area, it excludes the Warragamba catchment area. This means that while the Wolgan Valley and most of the Newnes Plateau are covered, the Cox's River catchment - anything south-west of the Blackfellows Hand fire trail that stretches from Wolgan Gap to Bungleboori, Clarence and Bell - is excluded.)
  • Carolin, R.C. and Tindale, M.D., 1994. "FLORA OF THE SYDNEY REGION" (4th edition) Reed Books, Sydney
    (This work contains a workable key that covers the Newnes region, although this book is rather advanced and not particularly "user friendly" for the beginner.)
  • Harden, G.J. (ed.), 1991. FLORA OF NEW SOUTH WALES. 4 volumes. NSW University Press, Sydney.
    (Currently, the last word on flora in NSW. Includes keys and diagnostic line drawings, and is thus more "user friendly" for the amateur. However, it's size limits its ability for field use.)
Other, more general, works have also been consulted in the preparation of this page.
As at 2013, The National Parks section of the Department of the Environment is preparing several reports on flora and fauna in the Gardens of Stone National Park, the south-west of Wollemi National Park and surrounding areas. In due course, they will become available as downloads from the Department of the Environment web-site.
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  Links to the "natural history" pages on this web site:
ANIMALS AT NEWNES BIRDS AT NEWNES NEWNES FLORA NEWNES GEOLOGY NATIONAL PARK INFO.
Return to HOME PAGE for links to other pages on this web-site.

This page last updated 29Jun2013