Australian Natives I

Course CodeBHT113
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Be An Expert With Plants From Australia

Australian native plants are increasing in popularity in many countries throughout the world and are grown commercially as cut flowers in Israel and South America. Eucalypts are widely planted trees throughout California, and is an increasingly popular specimen tree used in gardens of Southern England. Macadamia nuts and Tea Tree Oil are produced in commercial plantations not only in Australia, and beyond. Many Australian natives are also well suited as indoor plants.

Australian climatic conditions range from hot-dry to cold-wet; soils also vary according to region from alkaline to acidic. Consequently the plant life of this large country is abundant and diverse, offering an interesting range of possibilities, whether you live in Australia or elsewhere.

Lesson Structure

There are 9 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Scope and Nature of Native Plants
    • Taxonomy: Botanical and Horticultural Nomenclature
    • Binomial System
    • Levels of Division
    • Plant Families
    • Species, Hybrids, Varieties and Cultivars
    • Botanical Keys and their Use
    • Origins of Australian Plants
    • Continental Drift
    • Resources for More Information
    • Sources for Seed Information
  2. Cultural Techniques
    • Cultivation
    • Things that can Go Wrong: Pests, Diseases, Environmental Problems, Nutrition
    • Soils
    • Improving Soil Structure
    • Soil Water Management
    • Compost
    • No Dig Growing Techniques
    • Feeding Natives
    • Pruning
    • Temperature
    • Planting, Staking, Mulching
    • Special Planting Techniques
    • Natives for Shade
    • Controlling Weeds
    • Propagation; seed, cuttings, etc
    • Stock Plants
  3. Eucalypts
    • Introduction
    • Types of Eucalypts; gums, stringybarks, boxes, ironbarks, yates, peppermints, etc.
    • Hybrid Eucalypts
    • Eucalypt Cultural Requirements
    • Review of Important Eucalypt Species
  4. Native Trees
    • Casuarina; Casuarina and Allocasuarina, Gymnostoma and Ceuthostoma
    • Casuarina Culture
    • Review of Casuarina and Allocasuarina species
    • Australian Conifers: Overview
    • Cupressaceae: Actinostrobus, Calitris, Diselma
    • Araucariaceae; Araucaria
    • Podocarpaceae; Dacrydium, Microcachrys, Microstrobos, Phyllocladus, Podocarpus
    • Taxodiaceae:
    • Macadamias
    • Brachychiton
    • Angophora
    • Lophostemon
  5. Acacias
    • Introduction to Legumes; Papilionoideae, Caesalpiniodeae and Mimosoideae
    • Overview of Acacia
    • Acacia Cultural Requirements
    • Review of Important Acacia species
    • Elements of drawing a Landscape Plan
    • Landscape Design Procedure
  6. Myrtaceous Australian Plants
    • Review of the Myrtaceae Family
    • Callistemon overview
    • Callistemon Culture
    • Important Callistemon cultivars and species
    • Leptospermum overview and Culture
    • Important Leptospermum Species
    • Baeckea
    • Calothamnus
    • Calytrix
    • Eugenia
    • Homoranthus
    • Kunzea
    • Melaleuca
    • Micromyrtus
    • Scholtzia
    • Syzygium
    • Verticordia
    • Thryptomene
  7. Grevilleas
    • Grevillea Overview
    • Types of flower: Erect Cluster, Toothbrush, Pendant, Cylinder
    • McCilveray’s Classification into eleven main groups
    • Flower and Leaf Terminology
    • Review of Low Growing Grevilleas
    • Banksia Type Hybrids
    • Hybrid Parents from tropics and sub tropics
    • Poorinda Hybrids
    • Review of many Important Species
    • Culture
    • Related Proteaceae Natives: Dryandra, Hakea, Banksia, Telopea
  8. Ground Cover and Small Shrubs
    • Overview of Fabaceae (Egg and Bacon) Plants
    • Brachyzema
    • Castenospermum
    • Clianthus
    • Gastrolobium
    • Gompholobium
    • Goodenia
    • Hardenbergia
    • Hovea
    • Jacksonia
    • Kennedya
    • Oxylobium
    • Swainsonia
    • Viminaria
    • Boronia; overview and culture
    • Boronia species
    • Prostanthera
  9. Commercial Applications
    • Fragrant Natives
    • Uses for Eucalyptus
    • Uses for Grevilleas
    • Uses for Acacia: timber, tanning, cut flowers, food, etc
    • Aboriginal Uses for Acacias
    • Growing Natives in Containers
    • Bush Tucker


  • Classify most significant cultivated native plants, to the family level.
  • Determine cultural practices to maintain healthy native plants.
  • Explain the identification and culture of eucalypts in your locality.
  • Explain the identification and culture of native trees.
  • Explain the identification and culture of acacias in your locality.
  • Explain the identification and culture of native shrubs, including species of Acacia, Melaleuca, Callistemon and Leptospermum
  • Explain the identification and culture of different Proteaceous native plants, with particular emphasis on the genus Grevillea.
  • Explain the identification and culture of a range of Australian Native ground covers and small shrubs.
  • Determine commercially viable applications for different native plants.

Where Can You Use Australian Plants?
Australian plants come from climates as cold as Scotland, as dry as North Africa and as hot as mid summer in the South of France. They are diverse; to the extreme, and you can find Australian plants to suit just about any type of garden.  They can be mixed with plants from outside of Australia; or you can stick to purely Australian indigenous species to create a style of garden that mimics a particular type of "Australian" situation (eg. a Heath land)
Create a Heathland Garden with Australian Plants
Heathlands are found where the land is open and exposed to strong winds which prevent trees from growing. Typically this is in coastal regions or on the sides of hills or mountains which face the prevailing wind. In coastal areas he wind also carries salt spray.
To mimic a natural heathland, most plants in a heathland garden should be low-growing shrubs to small trees, and no taller than 2 metres. They should also cover a good proportion of the ground. The soil is generally acidic and free-draining, often sandy, with low organic matter content. 
Whilst heathlands in Europe are dominated by gorse, heathers and heaths, those of Australia have a much greater abundance of plant species. The most widely available of the native heath plants is Epacris of which many species and cultivars are grown e.g. Epacris longiflora (Native Fuchsia), E. microphylla (Coral Heath), and E. obtusifolia (Large-flowered Epacris). Many of the others are more difficult to get hold of and to propagate. Often these plants can have quite straggly growth. 
Some plants for an Australian heathland garden include:
Acrotriche divaricata  
Astroloma humifusum (Native Cranberry)
Brachyloma daphnoides (Daphne Heath)
Budawangia gnidioides (Summerheath)
Dracophyllum secundum 
Epacris spp. 
Leucopogon spp. 
Lissanthe strigosa (Peach Heath) 
Melichrus urceolatus (Urn Heath)
Monotoca scoparia (Prickly Broom Heath)
Pentachondra pumila (Carpet Heath)
Richea scoparia 
Sprengelia incarnata (Pink Swamp Heath) 
Styphelia tubiflora (Red Five-corner)
Trochocarpa laurina (Tree Heath)
Woollsia pungens (Snow Wreath)

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