Nature conservation

Threatened species

Blue Mountains Swamps in the Sydney Basin Bioregion - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Blue Mountains Swamps in the Sydney Basin Bioregion
Conservation status in NSW: Vulnerable Ecological Community
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Gazetted date: 10 Aug 2007
Profile last updated: 04 Mar 2024


The Blue Mountains Swamps community is characterised by a dense mixture of shrubs and sedges, most of which have sclerophyllous foliage. The shrub stratum typically varies from 0.5 m to over 2.0 m tall and is highly variable in cover. The ground stratum may be up to about 1 m tall and is dominated by a dense sward of sclerophyllous sedges and grasses except in patches where these are displaced by a dense cover of taller shrubs. Ferns, forbs and small shrubs are scattered amongst the sedges and grasses. There is considerable local variation within the swamps in species composition and vegetation structure, which is apparently related to local soil properties and fire history.

Structure of the vegetation varies from closed heath or scrub to open heath to closed sedgeland or fernland. Among the frequently occurring large shrub species Weeping Baeckea (Baeckea linifolia), Prickly Tea-tree (Leptospermum juniperinum) and Needlebush (Hakea teretifolia) are relatively common, while Woolly Tea-tree (L. grandifolium) and Grevillea acanthifolia subsp. acanthifolia occur primarily on deeper, highly organic, frequently waterlogged soils, and L. polygalifolium and Hairpin Banksia (Banksia spinulosa) are typically found on intermittently waterlogged, shallower sandy soils with a moderate organic content. Small shrubs, including Almaleea incurvata, Blunt-leaf Heath (Epacris obtusifolia) and Pink Swamp Heath (Sprengelia incarnata), are typically more abundant on the less waterlogged soils. The large tussock sedge Button Grass (Gymnoschoenus sphaerocephalus), and rhizomatous sedges and cord rushes, including Lepidosperma limicola, Ptilothrix deusta, Lepyrodia scariosa and Leptocarpus tenax are generally common throughout the swamps, as are the grasses Wiry Panic (Entolasia stricta) and Tetrarrhena turfosa. Coral ferns (Gleichenia spp.), and Forked Sundew (Drosera binata) are typical of frequently waterlogged soils, while other herbs, including Dampiera stricta, Heathy Mirbelia (Mirbelia rubiifolia) and Raspwort (Gonocarpus teucrioides) occur in more open vegetation on intermittently waterlogged soils.

This community forms a component of the community Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone which is listed as Endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.


The Blue Mountains Swamps community has been recorded in the local government areas of Blue Mountains and Wollondilly within the Sydney Basin Bioregion and may occur elsewhere in the Bioregion. The Blue Mountains Swamps community has a total extent of occurrence of less than 2000 km2, bounded approximately by the western Blue Mountains escarpment from Bell to Narrow Neck Peninsula, south to Lacys Tableland, the Hawkesbury-Nepean River from Lapstone to Kurrajong in the east, and Mt Wilson in the north.

Habitat and ecology

  • The Blue Mountains Swamps community is typically associated with the poorly drained headwaters of streams on the predominantly sandstone plateaux of the Blue Mountains. High levels of soil moisture result from the combination of high rainfall (typically exceeding an average of 1000 mm per annum), relatively slow runoff and low subsurface permeability.
  • The Blue Mountains Swamps community spans an altitudinal range of approximately 500 to 950 m above sea level.
  • With increasing elevation, the Blue Mountains Swamps community intergrades with Newnes Plateau Shrub Swamp in the Sydney Basin Bioregion, which is currently listed as an Endangered Ecological Community under the Threatened Species Conservation Act. The transition occurs around Bell and Clarence at approximately 850-950 m above sea level. The Blue Mountains Swamps community typically has a reduced cover of shrubs and a greater cover of sedges (particularly Gymnoschoenus sphaerocephalus).
  • The soils typically vary from damp grey-yellow sandy loams to black mineral peats, depending on the level of waterlogging.

Regional distribution and habitat

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Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region