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Rainforest Plants

There is an increased awareness of the beauty of many of our Australian rainforest plants.
Many produce-

  • attractive flowers and fruits, some of which are edible
  • bursts of colourful new leaves several times a year
  • beautiful markings on tree trunks and attractive bark.

Rainforest trees in cultivation are proving not to grow into forest giants, growing about a third the size that they would in their natural habitat.
Rainforest plants can be grown in most Central Coast gardens provided they are given protection from the extremes of heat, cold and the drying winds.
Some plants are referred to as pioneer plants. They can produce rapid growth rates of 2-3 meters per year.
Pioneer plants can be used to protect slower growing species if established large plants are not present.
New garden plantings should be limited to sun hardy species and pioneer plants.

Although watering is necessary initially, once established, rainforest plants require no more water than other garden plants.


Mulch Mulch and more Mulch
Heavy mulching is very important in establishing rainforest plants. Mulching will keep the root system cool, moist and help eliminate weed competition.  Mulches can be applied to a depth of 20cm.  Do not dig the mulch into the ground.


Most require regular fertilizing. Use organic cow manure, fowl manure, blood & bone or a slow release fertilizer.  All artificial fertilizers should be watered in.


Most respond to pruning, developing into bushy plants, producing flushes of new growth.


Palms, Ferns, Orchids & Mosses
These plants form part of the rainforest flora and can add a lush look to your garden.


Climbing plants
Climbing plants and vines are a feature of the rainforest as they scramble across rocks or grow up tree trunks towards the light.


Container Plants
Some rainforest plants make excellent container plants that can be used for short periods indoors.



Plant Name

Common Name


Archontophoenix alexandrae

Alexander palm

Attractive palm to 10m.

Archontophoenix cunninghamiana

Bangalow palm

Local growing palm to 10m.

Linospadix monostachya

Walking stick palm

Needs shade. Slow growing to 3m.

Livistona australis

Cabbage tree palm

Local. Hardy in sun or shade to 15m.

Climbing Plants

Plant Name

Common Name


Hibbertia scandens

Guinea flower

Yellow flowers. Ground cover or climber

Hoya australis

Wax flower

Sweetly scented waxy white flower

Pandorea jasminoides

Bower of beauty

Climber with large pink or white flowers

Pandorea pandorana

Wonga vine

Hardy climber. Spring flowering

Tecomanthe hillii

Pink trumpet vine

Fast growing climber. Warm position

Scented leaves

Backhousia anisata

Aniseed tree

Leaves have a strong aniseed perfume

Backhousia citriodora

Lemon scented myrtle

Leaves strongly lemon scented

Pioneer Plants

Plant Name Common Name Comments
Alphitonia excelsa Red Ash Natural coloniser. Hardy in most soils
Alphitonia petriei Pink Ash Hardy in full sun with rapid growth rate
Callicoma serratifolia Callicoma Rapid growth in moist soils. Full sun or shade
Commersonia bartramia Brown kurrajong Extremely fast growing in suitable conditions
Glochidion ferdinandi Cheese tree Adapts to harsh conditions. Fast growing
Omalanthus nutans Bleeding heart Fast growing in full sun or shade

Fruits of the Rainforest

Plant Name

Common name


Acmena smithii

Narrow leaf Lilly Pilly

Pink or white fruit in late summer

Alpinia caerulea

Native ginger

Blue fruit. Excellent foliage plant

Austromyrtus dulcis


Cinnamon flavoured fruit in autumn

Clerodendrum floribundum

Lolly bush

Blue/ black fruit surrounded by a red calyx

Davidsonia pruriens Davidsons plum

Large edible fruit. Makes delicious jam

Dianella caerulea

Blue flax lily

Cobalt blue sweet fruit for birds

Diploglottis australis

Native tamarind

Orange fruit, sour but juicy. Pleasant taste.

Pittosporum rhombifolium


Attractive orange fruit in autumn

Sysygium paniculatum

Magenta Lilly Pilly

Sweet juicy fruit. Withstands salt spray

Syzygium oleosum

Blue Lilly Pilly

Large purple fruit with crisp juicy flesh

Decorative Flowers


Common name


Backhousia citriodora

Lemon scented myrtle

Masses of cream flowers

Backhousia myrtifolia

Grey myrtle

Profusion of flowers

Brachychiton acerifolius

Illawarra Flame tree

Striking red flowers

Buckinghamia celsissima

Ivory curl

Masses of cream flowers

Cordyline stricta

Palm lily

Purple/ violet flowers..Purple or black fruit

Crinum pedunculatum

River lily

Fragrant white flowers

Cupaniopsis anacardioides


Masses of yellow fruit

Elaeocarpus reticulatus

Blueberry ash

Masses of pink or white dainty flowers

Graptophyllum ilicifolium

Native fuchsia

Holly leaves. Dark crimson flowers

Grevillea robusta

Silky oak

For large gardens and parks

Hymenosporum flavum

Native frangipani

Fragrant cream flowers ageing to yellow

Melicope elleryana

Pink Euodia

Butterfly attracting flowers

Melastoma affine

Native lasiandra

Appealing mauve flowers

Randia fitzalanii

Native gardenia

Fragrant flowers, good container plant

Rhododendron lochiae

Native rhododendron

Striking red flowers

Stenocarpus sinuatus

Firewheel tree

Tall deciduous tree, showy red flowers

Xanthostemon chrysanthus

Golden penda

Striking golden yellow flowers

Plants with colourful leaves


Common name


Doodia aspera

Rasp fern

Attractive pink new fronds

Grevillea baileyana

White oak

Rich bronze colour under-side leaves

Pilidiostigma glabrum

Plum myrtle

Blue green new foliage

Syzygium ‘Cascade’


Colourful new growth. Pink flowers

Syzygium francisii

Francis water gum

New leaves bright red or pink

Syzygium luehmannii


Young leaves red & bright pink

Syzygium wilsonii ssp wilsonii

Powder-puff Lilly-Pilly

New leaves pink. Crimson flowers

Uromyrtus australis

Peach Myrtle

Good for containers, weeping habit

Waterhousia floribunda

Weeping Lilly Pilly

Dark shiny green leaves

Waterhousia unipunctata

Roly poly satinash

Flushes of red & pink new growth

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Produced by the Australian Plants Society, Central Coast Group in conjunction with
Gosford City Council and Wyong Shire Council.