Rainforests are very dense, rich with flora and fauna and moist, and are extremely important to the ecology of the earth. Our Rainforest section was planted in 1987, and consists of about 350 local species representing five major North Coast types. An Interpretive Sign, which has a map showing walking trails through the five areas, helps visitors to orient themselves to this large and important area of the Garden.
Closest to the Coffs Creek, and below a mature Blackbutt forest, you will find the Developing Rainforest. Many of the species here are capable of sprouting from stem suckers at ground level or from root suckers if they are burnt. Seed, which may be spread by bird or wind, can lay dormant in the ground until after a bushfire.
Adjacent to this area, a Palm Swamp Rainforest has been planted with Bangalow and Cabbage Tree palms which form much of the canopy. Smaller species, such as Walking Stick Palms and Palm Lilies, can be found in the understory. Blue Fig and Blueberry Ash, with their characteristic buttress roots, also do well in this area which is periodically flooded.
The Subtropical Rainforest is typified by trees which have large leaves such as Tamarind and White Ash. Specialty timber species such as Red Cedar, Red Carabeen, Red Bean, Tulip Oak and Silky Oak can be found here. Notice the pronounced buttresses of the Blue Fig and Yellow Carabeen trees which provide habitats for ferns, shrubs and vines. Birds Nest and Staghorn Ferns are examples of large epiphytes which have established themselves in this humid, sheltered environment.
In the Temperate Rainforest the trees are generally smaller in height and diameter, buttressing is less common, and vines are wiry rather than woody. The leaves of the trees are small, and species such as Coachwood, Crabapple and Sassafras, have toothed leaves. Epiphytes such as lichens and mosses can be found here.
Beyond the Developing Rainforest you will find the Dry Rainforest. Here, species require lower rainfall and some trees lose their leaves in Spring. Other species, such as Hoop Pine, have small, thick leaves. Toothed leaves and spiny branches are adaptations to conserve water in the dry seasons.