Information about plants & gardens for Brisbane & Qld


Rainforest Plants & Gardening

True rainforests are characterised by tall trees forming a more-or-less complete canopy overhead. Smaller plants can survive by climbing to the sunlight using trees as support, or by living entirely in the upper levels of the canopy as epiphytes (orchids and staghorn ferns being typical examples). A few might survive on the forest floor by being able to tolerate very low light levels.

Most real rainforest trees are much too large for the average suburban block, but a rainforest effect can be created with selection of approriate species. Tree ferns and palms are particular favourites in the home garden.

The higher light at ground level (compared to a real rainforest) will enable more foliage plants to be grown, which will be appreciated by most gardeners. Many of the plants typically sold as indoor plants can survive outdoors in subtropical South East Queensland if frost-free, and would be suitable for growing under the canopy of trees. If root competition is too great, container culture is an alternative strategy.

Australian Rainforest Plants

Although there are many exotic species you could use in a rainforest garden, why not help recreate a little of the Australian environment with natives? Many native ferns, shrubs, palms, cycads and other foliage plants are suitable. You'll not only help preserve these species, but help fauna such as butterflies which have a close relationship with particular food plants (if you don't mind a little damage).

Regular and specialist nurseries will carry some native rainforest plants (try the Nursery Guide) You might find some of the rarer species available at plant sales held by native plant societies or environmental groups. Some organisations have permanent nurseries also. Such groups are, of course, great sources of imformation, too.

If you're revegetating a significant area, consider using only species or strains native to your local area. Environmental groups could be a good source of local genetic stock. Check the Regional pages for links to local organisations. Also check with larger organisations to find out it they have local branches. Contact them and ask about plant sales. (Also check the Events Diary)

Other Information Online

BRAIN Brisbane Rainforest Action & Information Network. (many informative articles)
Grow Your Own Rainforest Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants
Growing Rainforest Plants Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants
Growing Tropical Australian Rainforest Plants Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants
Caboolture Regional Environmental Education Centre, located next to "a rare lowland rainforest riparian ecosystem".
Lamington National Park Website The University of Queensland. Includes Flora of Lamington with descriptions of many species rainforest and other communities, orchids and fungi
Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants (ASGAP) includes links to state and district groups
Growing Tropical Australian Rainforest Plants Anne and Peter Radke Nada and Garry Sankowsky Australian Plants online - December 1998 The Society for Growing Australian Plants
TREAT Publications includes "Replanting the Rainforest" Info-Notes. Trees for the Evelyn and Atherton Tablelands Inc
Pioneers - and the value of Live Fast, Die Young article about pioneer species in TREAT Newsletter July - September 2007. Trees for the Evelyn and Atherton Tablelands Inc

More links to environmental groups and other native plant information on the Australian Native Plants Pages.

Also, wildlife groups often offer information about creating wildlife friendly gardens (go to Garden Wildlife page.)

Older News

Tips for Drips

The "drip tip" has long been recognised as an adaptation by rainforest leaves to efficiently shed water, but a recent study shows how the precise structure of the leaf tip achieve this. The tapered shape reduces capillary resistance and the orientation and curvature of the apex works with gravity to enhance droplet shedding. This results in a higher frequency of drips, each of a lower volume. The drip tiles of Asian palaces and the gargoyles of European cathedrals employed similar principles, helping to move water quickly off the structures and reducing the risk of leakage, rot and corrosion in an age before drainage pipes. Full report: Apex structures enhance water drainage on leaves (January 2020)

SEQld rainforest species get DNA identities

Scientists have "barcoded" hundreds of Southeast Queensland rainforest plant species by analysing unique DNA sequences accessible via a database. This will facilitate rapid plant identification which will be useful in a wide range of applications from biodiversity research to forensic investigations. Source: Plant identity now traceable via DNA barcoding (September 2013)

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