Acacia Melanoxylon Swamp Forest
The swamp forest is dominated by Acacia melanoxylon (Blackwood). It has a typically closed canopy and a naturally low species diversity, except for the prolific number of ferns species. (e.g. Blechnum, Cyathea, Dicksonia, Polystichum, Microsrum, Pteris, Hymenophyllum, Histiopteris and Pteridium). Blackwood swamp forest is very rare on King Island.The swamp paperbark forms a dense midstorey layer underneath the canopy of blackwoods.
Pegarah Private Nature Reserve's canopy blackwoods are very large, to 25 and 30 metres tall, some with multiple stems. The swamp paperbarks (Melaleuca ericifolia), prickly moses (Acacia verticallat) and golden wood (Monotoca glauca) are mid storey shrubs to 12 metres high. There are stands of large Tasmannia lanceolata (Mountain Pepper) and the Rough tree ferns (Cyathea) are up to 20 metres high. These are one of the tallest tree ferns and are common along the Bronzewing creek. C. australis was described in 1810 from a specimen collected on King Island by Robert Brown, botanist on Matthew Flinders's voyage of discovery to New Holland, on The Investigator. The King Island species are now rare.
King Island Eucalyptus Brookeriana forest
The dominant canopy tree is Brookers Gum (Eucalyptus brookeriana) which ranges in height from 5 to 25 metres tall with scattered Tasmanian Blue Gum (Eucalyptus globulus) and White or Manna Gum (Eucalyptus viminalis). The understorey is dominated by open ground cover in leaf litter and bark. Cutting grass (Gahnia grandis) and shrubs, such as cheesewood (Monotoca glauca), tea-tree (Leptospermum scoparium) and honeysuckle (Banksia marginata) occur throughout the understorey, along the creeklines and damp areas. In Pegarah Private Nature Reserve this forest type occurs along the ridgelines that follow the Bronzewing Creek, in drainage lines and low lying areas across the Reserve.
This forest type has been extensively cleared on King Island. The Reserve banksias trees are exceptionally large specimens.
King Island scrub
The dense canopy of the scrub is dominated by tall shrubs including tea -tree (Leptospermum scoparium), variable sallow wattle (Acacia mucronata), cheesewood (Monotoca glauca), blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon) and honeysuckle or silver banskia (Banksia marginata) with gums (Brookers and Tasmanian Blue Gum). Mosses, lichens, and orchids (e.g. Pterostylis) are usually abundent at the base of the larger tea-trees. The Reserve also has prolific fungi, lichen and moss types.
King Island scrub complex occurs across King Island, especially in areas of low soil fertility and where fire frequency has been high (eradicated plants of Eucalyptus). King Island scrub supports a diversity of plants and animals. It often occurs as a transitional vegetation type between open heathland and forest which facillitates the movement of animals between these two latter plant communities.
Priority and Threatened Species
Priority species include Elaeocarpus reticulatus (Blueberry Ash) and Hedycarya augustifolia (Australian Mulberry); Leucopogon lanceolatus (Lance beard heath) listed as rare in the Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act 1995; Caladenia pusilla (Tiny fingers orchid), a third new species of Gastrodia (Potato Orchid) - not anywhere previously recorded, and Caladenia transitoria (Green finger orchid), not previously found on King Island. Kangaroo Fern, epiphyte or rarely, lithophyte (on rocks or logs) has only been found in two other locations on King Island and both growing types are found in the Reserve.
* Dr Richard Barnes - past Coordinator Bushcare Technical Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment, Principal Biodiversity Scientist, Van Diemen Consulting Pty Ltd 2014
* Ms Kerri Spicer - Biological Monitoring Officer Private Land Conservation Program DPIWE 2008
*H & A Wapstra 2009
109 native plant species have been recorded in the Reserve. There are a number of threatened, vulnerable and rare species.
Dr. Richard Barnes, Biodiversity Scientist* in Pegarah Private Nature Reserve's Bushcare & Natural Heritage Trust Vegetation Survey, 2001 and Kerri Spicer* Biological Monitoring Officer, Private Forest Reserves, Tasmanian Government, reported in 2008,
'...Of particular interest is the wide range of orchids, including a number which were not previously known to occur on King Island...[and one previously never recorded *]...the Forest Reserve contains some amazing examples of very large, very tall, old banksias, reflecting the age and is evidence that the vegetation has not had any major disturbance for many years.'
Intact forests, tall and aged trees, a healthy understorey, little soil disturbance, and natural regeneration have permitted rare, endangered and 'not found anywhere else' flora to flourish.