Grassland Species in the Suburbs

Some people may not be aware of the number of native grassland species that can be found in the suburbs on nature strips or perhaps in your front or backyard.

Once you get your eye in, native species seem to be everywhere. Most of the species which hang on in the suburbs are more disturbance tolerant species but they still have an important role in the urban ecosystem and help to support biodiversity and plant-animal interactions.

Photo: David Wong

Photo: David Wong

Photo: David Wong

Photo: David Wong

Amongst the hardier forb species are some of the Fuzzweed (Vittadinia species), Bluebells (Wahlenbergia species), Common Everlating (Chrysocephalum apiculatum) and Native Bindweed (Convulvulus erubescens). The above images give some indication of the environments they are able to grow in.

Photo: David Wong

Photo: David Wong

Photo: David WongPhoto: David WongSome commonly seen grass species include those above pictured above: Redleg Grass Bothriochloa macra, Wallaby Grass Austrodanthonia species, Windmill Grass Chloris truncata and Hairy Panic Panicum effusum respectively. Speargrasses Austrostipa species are also common suburban stalwarts. As you can see, the structures of the seed heads vary greatly and can make for interesting interpretations if you are feeling creative. Some are suited to more abstract images.

Photo: David Wong

Although the focus here has been on native grass species, many lawns are made up of introduced species of grass and are commonly mown.  This is not necessarily a problem in the urban mosaic, but the below photo does demonstrate nicely how simplified the structure and species composition of a typical mown suburban lawn can be. The idea of complexity and variety goes hand in hand with biodiversity as a variety of species and structure within ecosystems allows for more niches for different species and supports plant-animal interactions. Native or introduced, grasses of all types can make for interesting photographic subject matter.

Photo: David Wong

If you have any grassland related photos that you would like to share, you can join the Seeing Grasslands Flickr site and upload your images at the following link:

http://www.flickr.com/groups/seeinggrasslands/

We’ve had some fantastic images added already and look forward to seeing more of how people see grasslands.

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