Nature conservation

Threatened species

Subtropical Rainforests

Vegetation class map

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Estimated percentage landcover for vegetation class


Complex closed forest. Trees 20-40 m, often buttressed, comprising an uneven canopy with a wide range of leaf sizes, festooned with diverse lianas and epiphytes. Open shrub/sapling stratum including palms. Patchy groundcover of herbs and ferns. Copious leaf litter.


The following may be present as large emergents: Araucaria cunninghamii (hoop pine), Ficus macrophylla subsp. macrophylla (Moreton Bay fig), F. obliqua, F. coronata (creek sandpaper fig), Toona ciliata (red cedar). The main canopy may include: Acmena ingens (red apple), Akania lucens (turnipwood), Baloghia inophylla (brush bloodwood), Brachychiton acerifolius (Illawarra flame tree), Caldcluvia paniculosa (soft corkwood), Castanospermum australe (black bean), Cryptocarya erythroxylon (pidgeonberry ash), C. obovata (pepperberry), Daphnandra micrantha, Dendrocnide excelsa (stinging tree), Diploglottis australis (native tamarind), Doryphora sassafras (sassafras), Dysoxylon fraserianum (rosewood), Elaeocarpus grandis (blue quandong), Flindersia australis (crows ash), Geissois benthamiana (red carabeen), Gmelina leichhardtii (white beech), Heritiera actinophylla (black booyong), H. trifoliolata (white booyong), Lophostemon confertus (brush box), Orites excelsa (prickly ash), Sloanea woollsii (yellow carabeen), Syzygium crebrinerve (purple cherry) and Syzygium corynanthum (sour cherry). In the subcanopy Archontophoenix cunninghamiana (bangalow palm) may be present with saplings of numerous other species.


Citriobatus pauciflorus (orange thorn), Cordyline stricta (narrow-leaved palm lily), Linospadix monostachya (walking-stick palm), Neolitsea dealbata (white bolly gum), Polyosma cunninghamii (featherwood), Ripogonum discolor (prickly supplejack), Sarcopteryx stipata (steelwood), Wilkiea huegeliana (veiny wilkiea).


Arthropteris beckleri, A. tenella, Cissus antarctica (water vine), Morinda jasminoides, Parsonsia velutina, Piper novae-hollandiae (giant pepper vine), Trophis scandens subsp. scandens (burny vine).


Dendrobium fairfaxii and D. gracilicaule (rats tail orchid), Asplenium australasicum (birds nest fern), Platycerium bifurcatum (elkhorn) and Pyrrosia confluens var. confluens (horseshoe felt vine) are epiphytes. On the forest floor are Pseuderanthemum variabile (pastel flower), Dioscoea transversa (native yam), Alocasia brisbanesis (cunjevoi), Adiantum formosum (giant maidenhair), Blechnum patersonii subsp. patersonii (strap water fern), Cyathea leichhardtiana (prickly treefern), Dictymia brownii and Lastreopsis munita (naked shield fern), Cyperus disjunctus, Gymnostachys anceps (settlers flax), Lomandra spicata..


Fertile soils, warm temperatures and reliable moisture supply. Coastal lowlands in valleys, riparian corridors and foothill gullies on rich soilsbasalts, alluvium or nutiernt-rich sedimenatires in areas receiving >1300 mm annual rainfall., Ooccasionally extending up escarpment gullies to 900 m elevation


Coastal lowlands and escarpment slopes north from Illawarra, with a few outliers further south. Principally in north-east New South Wales continuing into south-east Queensland. Examples in Border Ranges-Mt Warning caldera, Bellinger and Hastings valleys, Barrington footslopes and Illawarra-Kiama.


Very diverse & variable floristic composition especially in the tree stratum, which becomes more depauperate with increasing latitude and elevation. Includes many more species in addition to those listed above. The most extensive lowland stands in the Big Scrub, Comboyne Plateau and Kiama district have been extensively cleared, but significant stands remain in dissected terrain.


Adam (1987); Floyd (1990); Clarke et al. (2000); NPWS (2000)

See all threatened species associated with this vegetation class

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