Forest 20 - Southern Tablelands Ecosystems Park (STEP) (Australian native)

Hoary sunray in STEP Forest 20

STEP (Forest 20) is a regional botanic garden, education and conservation centre demonstrating southern tablelands' species of eucalypt trees and understorey plants.

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Of Interest at STEP - January 2020

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The Arboretum forests mostly consist of a single tree species, but Forest 20 differs in two ways: STEP is growing 16 species of eucalypt trees, selected to represent the major vegetation types of the region; and it includes shrubs, herbs and grasses to demonstrate the understorey plants commonly found in the region's forests and woodlands.

The STEP forest is an educational resource where visitors and school students can easily identify the trees and plants typical of the Southern Tablelands. Of particular significance are the trees and plants of the critically endangered 'Yellow Box/Red Gum Grassy Woodland' ecosystem. In this way, Forest 20 complements other Arboretum forests in telling an important conservation story about land use in south-eastern Australia.

Forest 20 is managed by the STEP community group in partnership with the National Arboretum Canberra and welcomes individuals, community groups, schools and others to join this exciting project. STEP have regular working bees and other activities.

spiny headed mat rush near wetland in STEP Forest 20

The trees of Forest 20 were planted in 2009 and 2010. Understorey species are located close to the eucalypt species they commonly grow near in their natural habitat. The eucalypts and other plants have been placed in their relative landscape positions from low-lying grasslands to elevated dry and wet sclerophyll forests. This design enables visitors to learn about tree and understorey associations and further develop their understanding of the natural environments of the Southern Tablelands. There is also a small ephemeral wetland on the site where frogs have been recorded.

STEP features The Clearing, a comfortable and quiet outdoor education space for school groups and a place for visitors to rest or enjoy a picnic. The Clearing is a low impact and accessible space with a wide open outlook that integrates with the surrounding eucalypt trees.

Eucalypts and their woodland/forest environments

Bud and leaves on red stringybark tree in STEP Forest 20

Dry sclerophyll forest

Eucalyptus macrorhyncha - red stringybark

Eucalyptus rossii - scribbly gum

Eucalyptus mannifera - brittle gum

Eucalyptus dives - broad-leaved peppermint

Eucalyptus nortonii - mealy bundy

Grassy woodlands

Eucalyptus polyanthemos - red box

Eucalyptus blakelyi - Blakely's red gum

Eucalyptus melliodora - yellow box

Eucalyptus bridgesiana - apple box

Eucalyptus albens - white box

Eucalyptus rubida - candlebark

Eucalyptus stellulata - black sally

Sub-alpine and grassy woodlands

Eucalyptus pauciflora - snow gum

Wet sclerophyll forests

Eucalyptus dalrympleana - mountain gum

Eucalyptus delegatensis - alpine ash

Eucalyptus viminalis - ribbon gum

Understorey and other plantings

Understorey species are sourced from local nurseries and from growers from the Australian Native Plants Society (Canberra Region). In 2012, STEP was invited to translocate three species from land in the Molonglo Valley that was scheduled for development. These were Chrysocephalum apiculatum (common everlasting), Eryngium ovinum (blue devil), and Cheilanthesaustrotenuifolia (rock fern). The translocation was successful and all three species can now be seen flourishing among the understorey plantings.


Acacia melanoxylon - blackwood *

Allocasuarina verticillata - drooping sheoak

Brachychiton populneus - kurrajong

Trees and other plants in STEP Forest 20


Acacia acinacea - gold dust wattle

Acacia dawsoni - poverty wattle

Acacia dealbata - silver wattle *

Acacia genistifolia - early wattle

Acacia implexa - hickory wattle

Acacia kybeansis - Braidwood wattle

Acacia paradoxa - kangaroo thorn

Acacia pravissima - wedge-leaved wattle

Acacia rubida - red-stemmed wattle

Acacia siculiformis - dagger wattle

Banksia marginata - silver banksia

Bursaria spinosa - blackthorn

Cassinia aculeata - dolly bush

Cassinia longifolia - shiny cassinia

Cassinia quinquefaria - cough bush

Dodonaea viscosa - narrow-leaf hop bush *

Grevillea iaspicula - Wee Jasper grevillea **

Hardenbergia violacea - false sarsaparilla *

Indigofera australis - austral indigo *

Indigofera adesmiifolia - leafless indigo

Kunzea ericoides - burgan

Leptospermum continentale - prickly tea-tree

Leptospermum obovatum - river tea-tree

Muehlenbeckia tuggeranong - Tuggeranong lignum **

Olearia phlogopappa - alpine daisy bush

Rubus parvifolius - native raspberry

Solanum lanceolata - kangaroo apple

* denotes species used by Aboriginal people

** denotes species recognised as threatened with extinction

Wee Jasper grevilliea in STEP Forest 20


Ammobium alatum - ammobium

Arthropodium milleflorum - pale vanilla lily

Asperula conferta - common woodruff

Bulbine bulbosa - bulbine lily *

Bulbine glauca - rock lily

Chrysocephalum apiculatum - common everlasting

Craspedia variabilis - variable billy buttons

Cullen microcephalum - dusky scurf-pea

Daviesia mimosoides - narrow-leaf bitter-pea

Derwentia perfoliata - digger's speedwell

Dichopogon fimbriatus - chocolate lily

Eryngium ovinum - blue devil

Goodenia ovata - hop goodenia

Leucochrysum albicans - hoary sunray

Microseris lanceolata - yam daisy *

Rutidosis leptorrhynchoides - button wrinklewort **

Viola hederacea - native violet

Walenbergia stricta - tall bluebell

Xerochrysum bracteatum - golden everlasting daisy


Cheilanthes austrotenuifolia - rock fern

Grasses and Grass-like Plants

Austrodanthonia racemosa - wallaby grass

Austrostipa scabra - speargrass

Bothriochloa macra - redleg grass

Carex appressa - tall sedge

Carex inversa - knob sedge

Dianella longifolia - smooth flax-lily

Dianella revoluta - black-anther flax-lily *

Dianella tasmanica - tasman flax-lily *

Joycea pallida - ed-anther wallaby grass

Juncus usitatus - common rush

Lomandra filiformis - wattle mat-rush

Lomandra longifolia - spiny-headed mat-rush *

Microlaena stipoides - weeping grass

Poa labillardieri - river tussock

Poa sieberiana - snowgrass

Sorghum leiocladum - native sorghum

Schoenoplectus validus - river club rush

Stylidium graminifolium - trigger plant

Themeda australis - kangaroo grass *

Xanthorrhoea australis - grass tree

* denotes species used by Aboriginal people

** denotes species recognised as threatened with extinction

Volunteers in STEP Forest 20The Clearing, a public outdoor education space in STEP Forest 20