In the 1990s and before, Coastal Banksia and Brush Kurrajong had colonized this regenerating section of rainforest and formed a low canopy. Now these species have been replaced with a variety of rainforest species that have formed a dense canopy.
SMALL LEAFED FIG
About 6 m from the track you can see a good example of the Small Leaved Fig Ficus obliqua which is one of five species of Fig occurring in the Harrington rainforest. It is a large strangling species that first establishes in the canopy of a host tree, but whose roots eventually grow and finally encapsulate the host tree.
As well as the tall trees in the rainforest there are layers of smaller trees, shrubs and seedlings. On the other side of the track you can see Cordyline Cordyline stricta, with its long strappy leaves and palm-like look.
Gahnia aspera is a tall grass-like plant which is part of the understorey. As you continue walking there is a lot of Rough Saw-sedge on the left-hand side of the track.
Smilax australis is one of several vines found here. It has 5 to 15 cm long glossy leaves which have 5 prominent longitudinal veins. The prickly climbing stems are up to 8 metres long and have coiled tendrils that are up to 20 cm long. It is endemic to Australia.
Ripogonum album is another vine found here. It also has longitudinal veins on the narrower leaves which can be opposite each other, alternate or in whorls of 3. It is a stout climber, with stems up to 15 metres long. Flowers are greenish white, and the fruit is a round red berry. Indigenous Australians used the stems for making traps for catching crayfish.
DRIP TIP LEAVES
Both of these vines have leaves that have a drip-tip – a feature common to many rainforest species which enables raindrops to run off quickly to avoid the growth of fungus and bacteria in warm, wet environments.
You might also notice on the wire fence a vine with very fine leaves – the native Scrambling Lily Geitonoplesium cymosum.