Australian Alpine Plants

Australian Alpine plants grow in zones.

Alpine region covers only 0,15% of the otherwise hot and sunburnt continent of Australia.

It is found in the south eastern parts of the continent, in the high country in eastern Victoria, southern New South Wales, ACT and central Tasmania.

alpine plants
       Alpine wildflowers by Tatters via

Tablelands and Montane Zones
There are four different vegetation zones in Australian Alps. The zone below 1,100metres is called the Tablelands, and the zone between 1,100 metres and 1,400 metres is called the Montane Zone. In the Tablelands there are tall eucalypt trees like Yellow Box (Eucalyptus melliodora), and some Acacia species like Yellow Wattle (Acacia dealbata) and Black Wattle (Acacia mearnsii). In the Montane Zone, there are Blue Gums (Eucalyptus globules), Manna Gums (Eucalyptus viminalis), and Peppermints like (Eucalyptus radiate and Eucalyptus dives). In the higher elevations of Montane Zone there are Alpine Ash (Eucalyptus delegatensis) and Mountains Ash (Eucalyptus regnans).

Supalpine and Alpine Areas
The zone between 1,400 metres and 1,850 metres is called Subalpine Zone, and the zone above the tree line at 1,850 metres is the Alpine Zone, which is too cold for trees to grow. In the Subalpine Zone, there are Snow Gums like White Sallee (Eucalyptus pauciflora) and Black Sallee (Eucalyptus stellulatea). In the Alpine Zone, there are no trees - instead there are short plants in grasslands, heathlands and herbfields with species belonging to families like Juncaceae, Cyperaceae, Ranunculaceae, Gramieae and Compositae. This zone is also known for the Alpine wildflowers that all bloom at the same time of the year.

Adaptations of the Australian Alpine Plants
The plants in the alpine areas are adapted to the winter cold, summer heat, winds, frosts, bushfires and high sun radiation. Most of the plant species are small and grow quickly during the summer. Many of them don’t produce seeds (instead they grow from other plants, root nodules or rhizomes). The ones that do produce seeds, flower as soon as the snow melts. One, Caltha introloba, even flowers under the snow.

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