South Coast Natives

We encourage all gardeners to replace their weeds or exotic plants with those native to the south coast, having similar foliage and flowers that you enjoy and, being native, having a higher chance of surviving our local environment.

Planting natives preserves the natural character of the Australian landscape and creates habitat for our native insect, bird, reptile and animal populations which brings further enjoyment to your garden.

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Bangalow Palm - Click to enlarge
NameBangalow Palm (Archontophoenix cunninghamiana) DescriptionThis is the South Coast native species most similar in appearance to Cocos Palm, with long drooping fronds on a smooth trunk. It is found north from Batemans Bay. Like many palms, its natural habitat is wet gullies and rainforest, but it will tolerate drier conditions.
Bird of Paradise - Click to enlarge
NameBird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) DescriptionThis very popular plant from South Africa can be found in almost every coastal garden, and shows no sign of becoming invasive, though it may occasionally escape further north. The large tussocky clumps of grey-green spoon-shaped leaves are topped by dramatic orange and blue flowers, present for much of the year.
Black Passionfruit - Click to enlarge
NameBlack Passionfruit (Passiflora edulis) DescriptionSeedling grown Black Passionfruit produce perfectly acceptable fruits and do not have the suckering problems of the grafted forms. Fruits are consumed by birds and spread into bush to some extent, but in the shade it is a straggly vine which does little harm to native vegetation and rarely fruits. But don’t grow it unless you intend to eat the fruit. The same comment applies to all vines, trees and shrubs grown for their edible fruits. Citrus fruits do not appear to naturalise, but most other types can be found scattered on road verges and occasionally in forest. Types with small fruits which are more easily consumed by birds are the most likely to spread.
Black She-oak - Click to enlarge
NameBlack She-oak (Allocasuarina littoralis) DescriptionShe-oaks have fine branchlets similar to pine needles, and they make a similar sighing sound in the wind. Individual flowers are inconspicuous and male and female flowers occur on separate trees. The male trees turn rusty brown when in flower. Female trees develop small woody “cones.” Black She-oak is the best of the locally native she-oaks, growing to about 10 metres.
Blue Flax-lily - Click to enlarge
NameBlue Flax-lily (Dianella species) DescriptionThe most common of the four local native species is Dianella caerulea, sold as Paroo Lily. A more attractive species is D. revoluta, which has purplish leaf bases. D. tasmanica is a much larger plant. All have arching sprays of small blue flowers followed by purple berries, and are spread by underground runners as well as from seed.
Boobialla - Click to enlarge
NameBoobialla (Myoporum boninense) DescriptionSucculent bright green leaves make this an attractive plant even without the small white flowers and purple berries it carries for much of the year. The very similar Myoporum insulare is native around the southern coast of Australia and is replaced by M. boninense north from Eden. The New Zealand native, M. laetum may also be sold as boobialla, but should be avoided as it is likely to be spread by birds.
Brown Plum Pine - Click to enlarge
NameBrown Plum Pine (Podocarpus elatus) DescriptionGrows to 35 metres in rainforest but much smaller in cultivation, and slowgrowing. Evergreen tree with dense, dark green foliage and furrowed bark. Large purpleblack fruits with a white bloom are bird-dispersed. It is native north from Nowra.
Bull Magnolia - Click to enlarge
NameBull Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) DescriptionSpreading evergreen tree from southern USA, with open, bowl-sized white flowers in summer, and large leaves with a brown, felted underside. Smaller cultivars more suitable for the home garden are ‘Exmouth’ which grows to 15 metres and ‘Little Gem” (pictured) reaching only 5 metres. Both flower from an early age
Cabbage Palm - Click to enlarge
NameCabbage Palm (Livistona australis) DescriptionThis native palm has fanshaped leaves and generally a smooth trunk, although old leaf bases are retained on young plants. It is native throughout the South Coast and into East Gippsland. Remnant trees, sometimes as much as 30 metres high, can often be seen in gullies in cleared paddocks on the coast. It is moderately salt-tolerant.
Ceanothus, Californian Lilac - Click to enlarge
NameCeanothus, Californian Lilac (Ceanothus species and hybrids) DescriptionThese shrubs come from North America. They are evergreen and drought-tolerant. Small blue or purple flowers in dense clusters are carried in great profusion. Flowering time varies between spring and late summer. They are fast-growing but may be short-lived.

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