Dry Tropics Biodiversity Group Inc.
(inform, educate, enthuse, implement)
to Hot Spots main page
Wild Plant "Hot Spots":Alligator Ck | Town Common and Bald Rock |
Paluma rainforest "H" Trail main page:
Lists of plant species at "Hot Spots":Sensory Trail Forest Face | "H" Trail Forest Entrance | At Tree 3 | At Tree 11 | Loading Ramp |
The Stinging Tree, (or Gympie Gympie) can be found in the area
Map of the Paluma rainforest "H" Trail
General information about the Paluma rainforest "H" Trail
The vegetation type here is full-on-rainforest, or more formally "highland tall to very tall moderate to smallish leaf size (mixed notophyll) closed forest". However when looked at in fine detail various types of full-on-rainforest do actually occur here in small patches, forming a mosaic. Staggeringly all species (95%) found here are unique to this vegetation type, we see them at no other "Plant Hot Spot areas".... yes Lantana is one that loves it everywhere!!!
Many plant enthusiasts prefer not to learn the rainforest species since they see them nowhere else, a few love it. But it's a bit daunting to arrive and know nothing!!! Other lowland areas visited by "Hot Spots" average about 35% unique. As expected from soils derived from the area's predominantly ancient acid volcanic rock, the soil here is low in natural fertility. More rainfall is needed to sustain rainforest on these poorer soils. Other less accessible rainforest outcrops occur south along the top of Hervey Range and on the top of Mt. Elliot. These interesting patches represents the southern limit of the Wet Tropics Rainforest that extends to well north of Cairns. Because of this extreme, the species are not as diverse as further north. The climate here at 900 metres above the coastal lowlands is 4-6 deg C cooler, i.e. you have to go more than half way to Melbourne... as far south as Northern NSW to get the same average annual temperature on the coast. Townsvillians revel in the ambience of open fireplaces up here. And the local gardeners love to grow some of those southern garden classics. But the humidity here is a lot higher.
The drive up Paluma Range and 20km west to the Running River Hot Spot Area provides a representative sample of five local vegetation types: 1. We are half way to Ingham, with it's Cairns like climate. So here wetter "Eucalyptus sp. mid-high to tall forest" exists on the foothills. In the rain shadow area around Townsville this normally occurs above 400m or so. Locally Eucalyptus cloeziana is only found here. 2. Further up the range is the "She-oak Forest" vegetation type that is widespread in the higher peak uplands 400-600m around Townsville, i.e. "Casuarina torulosa, Eucalyptus intermedia, Syncarpia glomulifera tall open forest" also here containing Eucalyptus reducta, the region's only true stringybark. 3. Drier "small-leaved mid-high to tall closed forest" in the foothill gullies expands and grades into the "moderate to smallish leaved tall to very tall closed forest" or "full-on-rainforest" with altitude. It is taller in height in the sheltered gullies. In the highlands over 800m it covers whole slopes and extends west beyond the top of the range. 4. Some kilometres west of Paluma township the rainforest retreats from the now dryer slopes which are taken over by spectacular "Flooded Gum - Eucalyptus grandis/Turpentine - Syncarpia glomulifera tall to very tall open forest". Flooded Gum is a Sydney Blue Gum relative, also present here is their persistent barked relative Eucalyptus resinifera with much larger leaves than Turpentine. 5. West a few more kilometers and there is a sudden vegetation change, possibly coinciding with the change into granite sands: "Eucalyptus spp. mid-high to tall woodland". Here the spectacular small bloodwood Eucalyptus abergiania is common, and the Paluma endemic Eucalyptus leptoloma can be found (rare and threatened list - "vulnerable").