Plants in the wild: Royal National Park

Plants in the wild: Royal National Park

The Royal National Park is an excellent stretch of coastal reserve located immediately south of the Sydney metropolitan area. The region mostly consists of a weathered sandstone base, and the 27 coastal walk traverses through a wide range of habitats including coastal heath, creeks, swamp, rainforest and sclerophyll forest. I saw a total of 7 species walking doing the walk in late December.

Drosera pygmaea

The National Park is characterised by tall sandstone cliffs that plummet directly into the ocean. On the edge of these cliffs, water from the surrounding landscape seeps out from the heath onto bare rock. At this moist boundary, you can often find Drosera pygmaea forming a dense carpet in the thousands! This pygmy sundew continues growing throughout the summer as long as theres water.

Utricularia uniflora

Utricularia uniflora can be found growing on peat seeps and in moist situations as long as they are not permanently submerged.

Utricularia lateriflora

The diminutive Utricularia lateriflora tends to grow in wet peat or sand amongst heath.

Utricularia uliginosa

Where the trail crosses the creeks and along the more permanent water channels, you can often find populations of Utricularia uliginosa. This species usually grows permanently submerged as an aquatic species, although it does grow into the moss on the margins of the creeks. The seasonal reduction in water during summer levels exposes the plants and stimulates them to flower. The local forms around Sydney do not have particularly attractive blooms.

The submerged growth of Utricularia uliginosa with a few strands of Utricularia gibba

Utricularia gibba tends to grow in slow moving waters such as in ponds or swamps, where it can grow into a choking mat of stems. In fast waters such as creeks, strands can sometimes get trapped amongst other plants or settle in the margins of the creeks. The species flowers during summer, often when exposed to the air by reducing water levels.

Drosera spatulata

Drosera spatulata is common amongst wet sandstone based situations in the Sydney region. in the Royal NP, it is mostly restricted to creek beds and the occasional seep.

A particularly robust specimen of Drosera binata

Drosera binata grows widely around the latitudes of Sydney. The populations in the Royal NP seems to be a mix between the dichotoma and multifida forms; they have robust lime green leaves typical of the dichotoma form, but some specimens grow more terminal points as with the multifida forms. The water loving species is usually found in creek beds.

Close Menu