FAST GROWING RAINFOREST SPECIES

Nimbin Plant Selection Guide

David McMinn
  
   


When planting a rainforest plot, the main aim to get a canopy quickly established. This is to shade out weeds, which will smoother any small plants and many larger ones for that matter. Thus, a list has been presented of rapidly growing species, which should comprise most of the trees in the initial plantings. The larger growing species should be planted out in a grid with about 3 to 4 metres between each tree. Once the canopy starts shading out the weeds, then interplant with slower growing species.           

Most listed species are native to the north east NSW & south east Queensland. Species denoted by NEQ are native to north east Queensland.  

References

Jones, David L .
Rainforest Plants of Australia. Reed Books P/L. 1986.
Lines-Kelly, Rebecca & Currey, Anne (Eds).Trees for the NSW North Coast. NSW Dept of Agriculture. 1992.
Nicholson, Nan & Nicholson, Hugh. Australian Rainforest Plants. Vols I, II, III, IV & V. 1985-2000.
Radke, Peter & Radke, Ann. Growing Australian Tropical Plants. Frith & Frith Books, 1993.
Williams, J B, Harden, G J & McDonald, W JF. Trees & Shrubs in Rainforests of NSW & South East Queensland. Botany Department, University of New England. 1984.              

Abbreviations:  DRF:  Dry Rainforest.    STR: Subtropical Rainforest NEQ:  Native to North East Queensland.

Species  Rainforest 
Type
Tall
(m)
Comments
Ash species
Alphitonia species
STR,
DRF
12 Fast growing pioneer species. Often will self sow, if mature trees are located in the area. Excellent in initial plantings to create a quick canopy. Hardy in full sun, grows on a wide range of soils and is frost hardy. Insect attack is common and may retard growth.

Brown Kurrajong
Commersonia bartramia
STR,
WTR
10 Shrub or small pioneer tree. Fast growing with attractive cream flowers. Regenerates naturally in rainforest margins and in clearings.

Koda
Ehretia acuminata
STR,
DRF
10 Flowers and fruits at an early age. Briefly deciduous in winter. Fruit avidly eaten by birds. Frost resistant.

Blue Quandong
Elaeocarpus grandis
STR 30 Moist sites along permanent creeks & rivers or around swamps and springs.

Weeping Fig (NEQ)
Ficus benjamina
STR 20-25 Fastest growing of the large native Ficus species. Warm sites with little or no frost.

Creek Sandpaper Fig
Ficus coronata 
STR 8-10 This small tree some is usually found  along streams. Produces prolific quantities of fruit for wildlife.

          
Sandpaper Fig
Ficus fraseri 
STR,
DRF
8-10 A common species that will often self regenerate. Food source for birds. It is easy to grow and plants will establish themselves quickly. Briefly deciduous in cold areas.

Queensland Maple (NEQ)
Flindersia brayleyana
STR 20 Excellent regeneration tree, as it becomes quickly established. White scented flowers in summer. Valuable timber tree. Copes with some frost.

Cudgerie
Flindersia schottiana 
STR 50 Fast growth makes this an excellent regeneration tree. White scented flowers in summer. Valuable timber tree. Copes with mild frost.

Cheese Tree
Glochidion ferdinandi 
STR,
DRF

10 Fast growing pioneer species.

Silky Oak      
Grevillea robusta 
STR,
DRF
20 Cabinet tree. The nectar rich, yellow flowers are a good food source for fruit bats and birds in September & October.

Guioa
Guioa semiglauca
STR,
DRF
10 Common pioneer species and will often self regenerate. May grow with multi trunks. It is prone to wind damage so plant in a sheltered site for protection from strong winds. The fruit is relished by birds.

Native Frangipani
Hymenosporum flavum
STR,
DRF
10 Tall slender medium sized tree. Clusters of yellow, scented flowers in  spring. Strong winds may damage the branches.

Foambark Tree
Jagera pseudorhus

STR,
DRF
10 Fast growing pioneer species. Grow in an area protected from strong winds.

Brush Box
Lophostemon confertus 
STR,
DRF
20-30 Fast growing and frost hardy. Tolerates a wide range of soils. May be grown on dry ridges and in exposed positions. Excellent border tree for rainforest plantings to protect the more sensitive trees from hot winds and burning sun. The trees shed their bark and thus exotic rampant vines cannot climb up the trunks.

Macaranga
Macaranga species

 
STR,
DRF
10 Fast growing pioneer species. Prefers to grow on the warmer westerly slopes.
Kamala
Mallotus species

STR,
DRF
10 Fast growing pioneer species.
White Cedar
Melia azederach

STR,
DRF
15 Grows well in difficult sites. It has perfumed, lilac-coloured flowers. Fruit is poisonous to humans, but is readily eaten by birds. Winter deciduous and frost tolerant.

 
Pink Euodia
Melicope elleryana

STR 20 Swamp and moist sites only. Flowers and fruit attract birds. Prone to frost damage, especially when young.
Bower Vine
Pandorea jasminoides
Wonga Vine
Pandorea pandorana

STR,
DRF
Vine Both species have attractive flowers, which bloom over several months. Plant these in house gardens, as alternatives to exotic vines, which can become a serious weed problem.
Sweet Pittosporum
Pittosporum undulatum

 
STR,
DRF
8-10 Beautiful scented cream flowers in spring. Good landscape tree and excellent pioneer species in rainforest plots.
Pecial Cedar
Polyscias murrayi
STR,
WTR,
LRF
10 Pioneer species which grows very rapidly. Distinctive, single upright trunk when young, with very large compound leaves. Older trees are moderately branched. Not eaten by wallabies.

  
Celery Wood
Polyscias elegans
STR,
DRF,
WTR
8-10 Very fast growing pioneer species. Saplings are often unbranched, with an umbrella shaped crown of large leaves. No eaten by wallabies.

Deep Yellow Wood
Rhodosphaera rhodanthema

 
STR,
DRF
15 Very attractive tree. It is hardy to dry spells and copes well with sun. Must have well drained soils. Valuable timber tree. Sun hardy.
Copyright.   2004-2008. David McMinn. All rights reserved.