Updated: Dec 21, 2019
On the NSW Mid North Coast and North Coast you will discover many Littoral Rainforests that have an abundance of native plants. Here are a few of the more beautiful, including some edible species.
WHAT IS A LITTORAL RAINFOREST?
A Littoral Rainforest is a closed forest and usually in close proximity to the ocean and won't necessarily be huge. The forest will have a closed canopy obscuring much of the sky with its thick coverage of trees, vines and vegetation, such as the one above. The NSW Littoral rainforests are protected thanks to the Endangered Ecological Community (EEC) under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995.
The photos from this post have been taken on the One Mile Beach Littoral Rainforest Boardwalk and Frewins Walk in Forster, NSW. The boardwalk forest is situated between the golf course and the One Mile Beach. Not far from this boardwalk, you can stretch your journey to include the walk from Bennetts Head, Frewins Walk and Bicentennial walk.
The first photo of this article was taken on the coastal walk between Bennetts Head and the One Mile Beach sand dune that is also home for many beautiful rainforest plants. It was in this canopy I came across a juvenile brown snake. On the subject of baby snakes, be warned; their bite can be far more poisonous than an adult as they have no control on how much they inject.
LITTORAL RAINFOREST PLANTS
The pretty little flower on this plant attracts night flying moths that pollinate the sweetly fragrant flowers. The flowers also attract birds and butterflies.
Lilly Pilly's are also a popular plant also in the the home garden with their pretty edible crimson berries. It wasn't fruiting season at the time of this photo so there were no berries to show.
Also known as 'Idiot Fruit'. The fruit is poisonous to cattle as was discovered in 1971 when a few cattle ate the seeds on a Daintree property and died. This is a large tree with bumpy bark.
Spiny-headed Mat Rush
This pretty plant is a large perennial herb that forms tussocks to 1 metre. The long stems of the grass are suitable for weaving and for making fishing nets.
Black Apple are edible bush tucker food and resemble a plum. More about Bush Tucker Food here.
The sweet fruit are good to eat when they fall from the tree, however, being a protected rainforest you are not allowed to remove any of these species, even what is decaying on the ground. In fact, this is why NSW (at time of writing) has had disastrous bushfires due to the amount of fuel made by leaves, dead branches etc on the grounds of these forests and National Parks. It almost defeats the purpose of protecting the forests only to have them, and the animals and birds that are the inhabitants, destroyed by bush fire. Let alone the copious amounts of carbon into the atmosphere that bushfires omit. At time of writing, it has been three weeks since the 2019 fires here and I my house is still full of bushfire smoke.
Cabbage Tree Palm
Personally, these trees are my favourite. I love walking through rainforests and listening to their leave rustling in the wind. Cabbage Tree Palms have brilliant green leaves spanning 3-4m in length and a trunk reaching a height of up to 30m. Cabbage Tree Palms are one the tallest Australian native plants. These beautiful palms produce striking spikes of flowers resembling cabbages which explains where the name comes from. Believe it or not, the growing tip of the palm is edible. The bark can be used for weaving, fishing nets and thatched roofing.
The Worimi people, original landowners of Australia, would dunk the flowers in water to make a sweet drink. Banksia are also a very popular flower for parrots. You will probably already know that they have been used as subjects in May Gibbs children's stories. Their dried flowers can also be used in craft.
These are just a few of hundreds of beautiful native plants. For more information visit Midcoast2Tops Landcare Connection.