Hardy Australian Native Plants

Written by carly reynolds
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Hardy Australian Native Plants
Eucalyptus is one of the many hardy plants that grows in Australia. (Jim Esposito Photography L.L.C./Photodisc/Getty Images)

Australia is home to thousands of different trees, bushes and flowers. Many of these species are hardy to survive in the tropical Australian climate. Australia offers moist coastal areas, dry arid locations, wet rainforests and mountain cliffs, each with different growing conditions. Because the different parts of this island feature such different ecosystems, Jo Hambrett of the Australian Native Plants Society suggests that gardens planted in Australia should be created using indigenous plants that thrive in that location.

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Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus trees, also commonly referred to as gum trees, are commonly found growing naturally throughout Australia. Australia is home to more than 700 different varieties of eucalyptus. This trunk of eucalyptus tree emits a sticky substance that inspired the name "gum tree." Eucalyptus trees feature alternate leaves and produce flowers that feature a cap. The exact appearance of the eucalyptus tree can vary greatly depending upon what type of eucalyptus is growing. This hardy plant is quite large, making it unsuitable for small properties. Although the growth characteristics vary by variety, all eucalyptus are hardy and adaptable to a variety of growing conditions.

In its natural environment, eucalyptus provides a source of food for Koala bears. Today, this tree is also grown commercially for its wood and oil. Wood from the eucalyptus tree is harvested for building timber, woodchips, paper and fuel. The oil extracted from the tree is used in medicine, perfume and industries.

Mint Bush

The mint bushes are members of the Prostanthera family and more than 60 different varieties can be found growing naturally in Australia. This herb bush is small to medium in size and is grown naturally and commercially for its variety of uses. The mint bush provides a fragrant aroma and the leaves are commonly used as a cooking ingredient around the world. The fragrance of the mint bush is a result of the volatile oils contained in the foliage.

When it is growing in its natural habitat, mint bushes can most commonly be found along coastal cliffs, in arid areas, rainforests and alpine areas. Different varieties of mint bushes prefer growing in different locations. Although exact growing conditions vary from one type of mint bush to another, all are hardy plants native to Australia.

Acacia

Of the 1,200 varieties of acacia plants, 954 are native to Australia. This plant can be found growing everywhere from along the coast to high in the mountains due to its adaptability and hardy nature. Many Australians refer to acacia plants as "wattle," which means interlaced rods and twigs. This plant got this name because early European settlers used the acacia plant to create shelters. The pliable sticks were combined with mud to create a sturdy dwelling.

In their natural state, acacia plants are small or medium-sized shrubs. Under the right conditions, some acacia plants can grow into a small tree. This plant typically blooms at the end of winter and signals to Australians that spring is approaching. Today, Acacia is also grown commercially for the tannin contained in the bark. This tannin is used in the tanning industry. More recently, the fruit produced by the plant has been cultivated for its nutritional value as a source of food.

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