Nature conservation

Threatened species

Coastal Valley Grassy Woodlands

Vegetation class map

   Loading map...
Estimated percentage landcover for vegetation class


Open forests and woodlands 20-35 m tall with scattered or clumped shrubs, which are mostly sclerophyllous and varying in cover, depending on site quality and disturbance history. The dense ground cover is a diverse array of perennial tussock grasses, scrambling twiners and perennial herbs, and is periodically supplemented by flushes of geophytic orchids and lilies in good seasons or after fire.


Angophora floribunda (rough-barked apple) and Eucalyptus tereticornis (forest red gum) occur throughout the range of this class. Other widespread species include Corymbia maculata (spotted gum), Eucalyptus crebra (narrow-leaved ironbark), E. eugenioides (narrow-leaved stringybark) and E. moluccana (grey box). In the far north of the distribution Corymbia henryi (large-leaved spotted gum), C. intermedia (pink bloodwood) and Eucalyptus siderophloia are common.


The most common shrub is Bursaria spinosa (blackthorn), which may occur in thickets depending on disturbance history. Other shrubs include Acacia implexa (hickory wattle), A. mearnsii (black wattle), Daviesia ulicifolia (gorse bitter pea), Dillwynia sieberi (egg and bacon pea), Jacksonia scoparia (dogwood), Leucopogon juniperinus (prickly beard-heath) and Ozothamnus diosmifolius (white dogwood). In the Clarence Valley Alphitonia excelsa (red ash) is prominent.


Eustrephus latifolius (wombat berry), Glycine clandestina and G. tabacina are often found scrambling amongst tussocks and over shrubs.


Prostrate species include Desmodium varians (slender tick-trefoil), Dichondra repens (kidney weed), Geranium solanderi (native geranium), Hydrocotyle laxiflora (stinking pennywort), Oxalis perennans, and Pratia purpurascens (white root). Erect species include Asperula conferta (common woodruff), Brunoniella australis (blue trumpet), Desmodium brachypodum (large tick-trefoil), Opercularia diphylla and Wahlenbergia gracilis (Australian bluebell), Cheilanthes sieberi subsp. sieberi (poison rock fern). Dominant tussock grasses include Aristida ramosa (purple wiregrass), A. vagans (threeawn speargrass), Cymbopogon refractus (barbed wire grass), Eragrostis leptostachya (paddock lovegrass) and Themeda australis (kangaroo grass). Smaller grasses and sedges, such as Carex inversa (knob sedge), Dichelachne micrantha (plumegrass) and Microlaena stipoides var. stipoides (weeping grass) also occur frequently.


Clays and clay loams on undulating hills, and plains on shales and granitoids up to 350 m elevation and receiving less than 1000 mm annual rainfall in Coastal rainshadow valleys with flat to undulating terrain, generally below 350 m elevation and receiving 700-1000 mm rainfall annually. Soils are deep, moderately fertile, loamy soils derived from shales and granitic substrates.


Disjunct occurrences in valleys of the Clarence, Macleay, Manning and Hunter rivers, Kangaroo, Moruya, Araluen and Bega valleys, as well as the  Cumberland and south-west Illawarra plains. Principally known from New south Wales with a localised occurrence in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria.


Very diverse assemblages showing strong latitudinal trends in which diversity decreases to the south, particularly for woody species. Ground strata are species-rich and have affinities with grassy woodlands of the tablelands and western slopes. These woodlands have been extensively cleared for pastoral uses.


Keith & Bedward (1999); NPWS (1999); NPWS (2000); Tozer (2000)

See all threatened species associated with this vegetation class

See a list of species, populations and ecological communities associated with the Coastal Valley Grassy Woodlands vegetation class.