From 3,000-year-old ancient towering trees to tiny carnivorous insect-eating sundews, the Wet Tropics’ spectacular landscape of deep gorges, rivers, and tree-laden mountains is home to a diverse range of plants.
Known the world over for its lush rainforest, you’ll also find mangroves, wetlands, paperbark forests, heathlands, and grasslands.
In fact, there are over 2,800 plant species in the World Heritage-listed area, 700 of which are endemic to the Wet Tropics, meaning they can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
Did you know…
- The Idiospermum australiense, more commonly known as the Idiot Fruit or Ribbonwood tree, would have developed around 120 million years ago and is thought to be the most primitive genus of flowering plants. Its discovery was hugely significant in increasing scientists’ awareness of just how old the Daintree Rainforest is.
- The Wet Tropics has one of the largest cycads, at 65ft tall, and one of the smallest cycads in the world.
- Ferns appeared in the fossil record dating back to 325 million years ago. They are one of the earliest plants to circulate water internally; known as vascular plants. The Wet Tropics is home to 65 per cent of Australia's fern species, including 46 species restricted to the area.
- Mangroves, found along coastal areas and along rivers, are salt-tolerant plants that have cleverly adapted to their environment with a number of ways to handle the salt of the sea. Some species concentrate the salt in the older leaves which fall off, taking the salt with them. While others have salt glands which excrete the salt to the surface of their leaves. This is then washed away by the rain.