Tough Plants

Natural rock garden, Beerbarrel beach, Tasmania. Photo: david Clode.

Natural rock garden, Bay of Fires, Tasmania. Photo: David Clode.

It is common in revegetation/reforestation projects to have to start with a difficult site with harsh conditions, which can lead to poor results and discouragement.

Fortunately there is usually a variety of tough plants which will grow successfully, and improve the conditions for more tender species to be grown later. The photos below show plants surviving or even thriving in very demanding circumstances, proving that there is hope and that it can be done.

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Seedling growing in a rotting log on top of granite boulders. (I think Coast beard-heath Leucopogon parviflorus, in Allocasuarina verticillata log). Burns Beach, Tasmania. Photo: David Clode.

Seedling growing in a rotting log on top of granite boulders. (I think Coast beard-heath Leucopogon parviflorus, in Allocasuarina verticillata log). Burns Beach, near St Helens, Tasmania. Photo: David Clode.

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Strangler and other fig seeds are dispersed by birds and mammals, and often germinate near the top of another tree, where there is more light. In wet tropical areas, if the people left, the cities would quickly look like Angkor Wat. More strangler fig photos below.

Photo taken at the Cairns library car park.

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Natural rock garden, Beerbarrel beach, Tasmania. Photo: david Clode.

Natural rock garden, Binalong Bay, Bay of Fires, Tasmania. Photo: David Clode.

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Natural rock garden Beerbarrel Beach, Tasmania. Photo: David Clode.

Natural rock garden, Beerbarrel Beach, Tasmania. Photo: David Clode.

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Two species of fig growing on a pylon on the jetty at Green Island, cairns. Photo: David Clode

Soil? Who needs it! Two species of fig growing on a pylon on the jetty at Green Island, Cairns. Photo: David Clode

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Casuarina equisetifolia, Green Island.

Casuarina equisetifolia, Green Island.

Cyclones (hurricanes) have broken off branches from this casuarina tree, and removed three quarters of the sand around its roots, and yet the tree still battles on.

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Growing on rocky ground. Coast She-oak looking like stone pines on the Mediterranean. Burns Beach, Tasmania. Allocasuarina verticillata.

Growing on rocky ground. Coast She-oaks looking like Stone Pines on the Mediterranean. Burns Beach, Tasmania. Allocasuarina verticillata.

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Coast Casuarina . The Gardens, Bay of Fires, Tasmania. Photo: David Clode.

Coast She-oak (or Drooping she-oak) Allocasuarina verticillata, prev. Casuarina stricta. The Gardens, Bay of Fires, Tasmania, coping with salty winds and growing on a rock. Photo: David Clode.

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Allocasuarina verticillata, Burns Beach. Photo: David Clode.

Allocasuarina verticillata, Burns Beach. Photo: David Clode.

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Pumice, driftwood and seeds washed up on a beach on Green Island after an unusually high tide. Photo: David Clode.

Pumice, driftwood and seeds washed up on a beach on Green Island after an unusually high tide. Photo: David Clode.

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Seedlings germinating in a pile of pumice, washed up on the beach at Green Island (near the photo above).

Seedlings germinating in a pile of pumice, washed up on the beach a few months earlier on Green Island (near the Casuarina photo above). Photo: David Clode.

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A Bird's-nest fern growing directly on a rock. Stoney Creek, Barron Gorge National Park.

A Bird’s-nest fern growing directly on a rock. Stoney Creek, Barron Gorge National Park. Cairns Australia.

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Sclerophyll heathland vegetation growing in acid infertile pure sand with caostal exposure. Steiglitz, Tasmania. Photo: David Clode.

Sclerophyll heathland vegetation growing in acid infertile pure sand with added coastal exposure. Steiglitz, Tasmania. Photo: David Clode.

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Bee visiting Epacris impressa in the above heathland. Photo: David Clode.

Bee visiting Epacris impressa in the above heathland. Photo: David Clode.

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A tree refuses to die:

 This Enterolobium cyclocarpum or Earpod tree was blown over in a cyclone/hurricane (late January 2011). It was then cut off cleanly with a chainsaw. It promptly grew coppice growth from the stump, which was sawn off again. This is the second coppice growth.

  

As above, second coppice growth, 23 Dec 2011.

Same coppice growth, 24 days later.

 Same coppice growth, close up, 23 December 2011. The tree refuses to die.

Coppice growth.

Coppice growth.

October 2015. Tree wins!

Coppice growth.

Coppice growth.

October 2015.

Coppice growth.

Coppice growth.

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 A self-seeded tomato plant growing and fruiting in a crack in a car park in Cairns.

Cactus growing in car park.

This cactus plant has been thrown out in a car  park, has righted itself, and is growing happily. People throwing out plants and garden prunings is a major source of weed introduction to new areas, especially remnant bushland/vegetation in or near urban and suburban areas. Succulents in particular are often able to survive dessication, grow roots, and thrive as weeds e.g. Senecio spp., Opuntia spp., Sansevieria.

Desmodium growing in tarmac.

A Desmodium tortuosum self-seeded in a car park.

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Note the three grasses - surviving heat, cold, dessication, and sand blasting. Peron dunes, Tasmania. Photo: David Clode.

Note the three grasses by themselves – surviving heat, cold, dessication, strong salty winds, and relentless sand blasting. Peron Dunes, Tasmania. Photo: David Clode.

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A Philodendron strangling a palm, Wodyetia bifurcata. This has been going on for decades, and the palm lives. Cairns Botanic gardens. Philo means friendly, and dendron means tree, so Philodendron could be loosely translated as “tree-hugger”.

Strangler fig, Marrja, Cape tribulation national Park.

This strangler fig grew around another plant, which later died and rotted away, leaving just the hollow lattice-work of the roots of the strangler fig.

This strangler fig root has grown about 27 metres along the top of a wall (see photo of the tree below), and then entered the ground 30 metres away from the tree. Who knows how far it has gone underground?

Strangler fig, Cairns. The 30m + root in the photo above grows off to the left. Photo taken near the second world war fuel storage tanks, and the wall was presumably built about that time, and the fig started growing sometime after that. Edge Hill, Cairns.

Below, a young fig seedling establishes itself in a plastered wall, looking like a bonsai plant. Edge Hill, Cairns.

Bonsai Ficus benjamina.

Bonsai Ficus benjamina.

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Mangrove trees in the sea, Cape Tribulation.

Mangrove trees are tough – able to cope with saltwater and waterlogging.

Succulent Aloe arborescens plants in the foreground. Wadi Avdat, Negev desert, Israel. Photo: Dieter Prinz.

Succulent Aloe arborescens plants in the foreground growing in the desert. Wadi Avdat, Negev desert, Israel. Photo: Dieter Prinz.

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New growth from a Tasmanian Blue Gum, growing in a crack in rocks and exposed to salty sea winds and perhaps the occasional fire. Binalong bay Tasmania. photo: David Clode.

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This eucalyptus tree is growing next to a creek in Melbourne. The soil has been washed away around its roots until it has fallen accross the creek, but it has produced new vertical growth from the horizontal trunk. Photo: David Clode.

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A burnt eucalyptus tree continues to thrive after a fire. Mt dandenong, Victoria, Australia. Photo: David Clode.

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A eucalyptus which has survived a fire. Mount dandenong, Australia. David Clode.

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Tough grass, probably marram grass. Peron Dunes, Tasmania. photo: David Clode.

Tough grass, probably Marram grass. Talk about an exposed position! Peron Dunes, Tasmania. Photo: David Clode.

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Aizoacea succulent surviving in crack in a rock next to the sea. Beerbarrel Beach, Tasmania. Photo: David Clode.

Aizoaceae succulent surviving in crack in a rock right next to the sea. Most likely Disphyma crassifolium ssp. clavellatum. Beerbarrel Beach, Tasmania. Photo: David Clode.

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