Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Vegetation of Dunes

Dune Crests

Very few plants can survive on the crests of the dunes. Canegrass (Zygochloa paradoxa) is one of these hardy plants.

Stable Dune Slopes

Spinifex (Triodia basedowii) grows both on the stable slopes and in sandy interdune corridors. Some perennial shrubs of the genera Acacia, Eremophila and Grevillia, also grow in both locations, as do some seasonal herbs.

Interdune Corridors

The interdune corridors are on  a wide range of soil types. They can be relict alluvial flood-outs, salt pans and gibber surfaces. This variety is also shown in the varieties of vegetation associated with the various soil types. Examples of the vegetation found in these corridors are low open woodlands, tall open open schrublands made up of species such as Eucalyptus microtheca, Acacia georginae, A. aneura, A. kempiana, Hakea, Low open shrublands of Atriplex vesicularia, A rummularia, Marieana aphylla, Holosarcia  spp. Muehkenbeckia cunninghamii. Sparse grasslands with a scattering of low trees and shrubs.

More than 800 species of plants have been documented from the Simpson Desert, mostly from the dunefields, a reflection of the varied habitats found there. Many are also found in refuge areas like flood plains, where the infrequent floods from the erratic outback rivers occasionally bring water.

Unexpectedly to most, the Simpson Desert supports large populations of  flora and fauna. There are mammals and birds and lizards typically found in spinifex grasslands. The Eyrean Grasswren is endemic to the Simpson area.

Sources & Further reading

  1. Mary E. White, Earth Alive, From Microbes to a Living Planet, Rosenberg Publishing Pty. Ltd., 2003


Author: M. H. Monroe
Last updated 30/09/2011
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