Native plants in the South East region

The South East region is home to an extraordinarily diverse range of native vegetation (flora). Native vegetation refers to any naturally occurring local plant species which are indigenous to Australia, from small ground covers and native grasses to large trees and water plants.

Why is flora important?

Native flora is important for many reasons:

  • Ecological value: Australia’s native flora is extraordinarily diverse and many are found nowhere else in the world. As a result, they provide the unique landscapes of the region, provide habitat for native animals, create wildlife corridors, provide shelter belts to protect stock and crops, provide protection from wind and water erosion by holding the soil together, protect water quality; and reduce the greenhouse effect.
  • Economic value: economically, native vegetation and its direct soil and water functions support the productive capacity of many important sectors of the Australian economy, including agriculture, forestry, fisheries, aquaculture and tourism.
  • Social and cultural value: native vegetation shapes the Australian culture and national identity, and so we want to allow future generations to enjoy our unique environment. For Indigenous Australians, the land and its resources have underpinned Indigenous history, innovation, culture, spirituality and economics for tens of thousands of years.

Why manage flora?

Native vegetation plays a vital role in the health and prosperity of South Australia's ecosystems, communities and natural resource-based industries. As a result, threats to native vegetation have potentially serious consequences for Australia. These include the decline of biodiversity and reduced ecosystem functioning, reduced water quality, increased erosion and salinity, increased greenhouse gas emissions, reduced productivity and impacts on cultural and spiritual identity.

Threats to flora

  • clearance
  • declining ecosystem health
  • fragmentation of ecosystems
  • changed fire patterns, such as changed frequency, intensity and scale of fire
  • changed quantities and patterns in water and water flows
  • unnatural water regimes
  • competition with introduced plants
  • grazing by feral animals and livestock
  • pollution and diseases
  • climate change
  • salinity
  • mining impacts
  • tourism and recreation impacts
  • urban growth.

Vegetation Types in the South East

We have produced a series of factsheets featuring six characteristic vegetation types that occur in the South East. They include information on where they can be found, some of their important features and management tips.

Flora we are working to protect

Little dip spider-orchid

Name: Little dip spider-orchid
Scientific name: Caladenia richardsiorum
Regional status: Vulnerable
Related links:


Monarto mintbush

Name: Monarto mintbush
Scientific name: Prostanthera euryboidies
Regional status: Vulnerable
Related links: