Indigenous Plant Guide
The Shire of Cardinia and City of Casey cover the southern slopes of the Dandenong Ranges and continue south to the coast of Western Port. Within these municipalities there are sections where the original plants of the area still exist (remnant vegetation) that are of state, national and international importance. These include Western Port, Barn Bam Swamp in Casey and Bunyip State Park in Cardinia. However, only a small amount of the plants that were once present remain with 7 percent in Casey and approximately 11 percent in Cardinia.
This guide highlights a selection of plants that grew naturally in the area before European settlement. These are called indigenous plants which are those that occur naturally in an area having evolved there over thousands of years. These plants have subsequently adapted to the local conditions of that area and grow better than those from other areas. Native plants are simply plants that occur naturally in one or more parts of Australia. This guide aims to highlight the importance of protecting areas of remnant vegetation in Cardinia and Casey, and growing indigenous plants in private gardens and on farms.
Growing indigenous plants contributes to sustainability through the creation of healthier ecosystems, increasing habitat for animals, using plants in holistic house and garden design, and recognising their cultural significance while providing scents, textures, sights and sounds of beauty. Using indigenous plants also helps to create regional landscape identity rather than having all areas look the same.
How to Use this Guide
This guide has information on 141 plant species indigenous to both the areas of Cardinia and Casey. Photos are included for 97 of these plants and 44 species without photos are listed towards the back of the guide. Plants with photos have been grouped into five colour-coded sections with strips along the sides of pages being yellow for trees, green for shrubs, blue for wildflowers, violet for grasses, sedges and rushes, and orange for groundcovers and climbers.
To help with plant selection, maps of Cardinia and Casey have been divided into vegetation zones based on soil types, topography and other natural influences. You can find a suitable plant species for your property by identifying the zone your property lies within and then selecting plants labelled with your zone.
For a more detailed study of vegetation communities in your local area the Department of Primary Industries has developed Ecological Vegetation Classes (EVC). EVCS provide specific detail about flora communities. For more information about EVCS visit www.dse.vic.gov.au/dse/nrence.nsf