Indigenous trees and shrubs of south west Victoria
A tree-growers' guide to species and land-types
Why choose indigenous species?
Acacia melanoxylon on the Cobbobboonee Basaltic Tableland
Choosing to plant indigenous or locally native species is a practical, multipurpose approach to rural tree-planting.
In general, there are several things to consider when choosing what sort of trees to plant:
- The characteristics of the site (rainfall, temperature, frost, soil type, soil depth, drainage, salinity)
- The purpose of the planting (e.g. shelter, shade, conservation, wildlife habitat, appearance, land protection, timber, carbon storage)
- The characteristics of the trees (site preference, growth rate, size, form, longevity, wood properties, flammability, flowering, evergreen/deciduous, indigenous/native/exotic).
If we choose locally indigenous species, we know they are usually suited to the site. Moreover, many can be easily established by direct seeding or natural regeneration.
Indigenous trees and shrubs are commonly used in shelterbelts, where they also provide good habitat for wildlife and a natural appearance.
Conservation plantings in particular should use a mix of indigenous species (including groundcover species if possible) grown from carefully collected local seed.
In some cases, indigenous species may be unsuited to some purposes (e.g. commercial timber production).
About this guide
Bursaria spinosa and Eucalyptus ovata on the Basaltic Plains
These notes are designed to be used as a guide to the indigenous trees and shrubs of various land-types in south west Victoria.
- Look at the map of land-zones of south west Victoria and find the land-zone that applies to your area.
- Check the land description for that land-zone to ensure that it matches your land. If the land is near a boundary or in a complex landscape, also check the descriptions of neighbouring zones and choose the best match.
- Look at the table of land-units (under the land description) and find which applies to your site.
- Look at the table of indigenous species of each land-unit. Use the species indicated for your land unit as the basis of a species list for planting. Lists should used with discretion; some trees may not be suited to part of the land (e.g. exposed limestone in an area of acidic sand sheets). It is also useful to check what indigenous trees and shrubs exist on local reserves and roadsides.
- Check your species list against the table of species characteristics (which includes common names) to ensure that the species are suited to your site and the purpose of your planting. (Note: some species are not included in the table).
- If you find a limited number of indigenous species, other species from similar land types can be added to increase the diversity of the planting. However, beware of potential weeds (e.g. Acacia longifolia and Melaleuca ericifolia) and introducing non-indigenous plants to conservation areas.
This guide includes most, but not all, indigenous trees and shrubs (excluding ground-cover species) of south west Victoria. It is based on an earlier publication that covered a much wider range of species, including non-indigenous natives and exotics, and other information:
- Bird PR, Kearney GA, Jowett DW (1996) Trees and shrubs for south west Victoria. Agriculture Victoria.
More information on indigenous species and tree-planting is available from:
- Vic Veg Online (www.vicveg.net.au)
- Department of Sustainability and Environment (www.dse.vic.gov.au) [particularly Ecological Vegetation Class (EVC) information]
- Department of Primary Industries Private Land Forestry
Map of land-zones of south west Victoria
Table of species characteristics
This table includes common names, size, site preferences (for reasonable survival and growth of non-commercial farm trees) and potential uses.