Wildlife habitat plants

Most Australian plants provide valuable resources for wildlife. The best habitat plants provide some food, shelter and nest sites for a range of nectar, fruit, seed, leaf and insect (and other prey) eating animals such as birds, mammals, lizards, frogs and insects and other invertebrates.

Important general groups

The top habitat plant groups which provide many resources for a wide range of Australian animals are Eucalyptus, Angophora, Melaleuca, Acacia, Banksia, Leptospermum and Kunzea.

Shelter plants

Many Acacia (wattles), Leptospermum (tea-trees), Melaleuca (paperbarks), Bursaria (blackthorn), Hakea, Ceratopetalum (Christmas bush), Kunzea, Clematis, Pandorea (wonga-wonga vine), Rubus (native raspberry) and any dense and/ or spikey planting.

Insect-pollinated plants

Acacia (wattles), native peas (e.g. Dillwynia, Hardenbergia, Kennedia), Leptospermum (tea-trees), native daisies (e.g. Olearia) as well as Hibbertia, Clematis, Pomaderris.

Nectar plants

Banksia, Grevillea, Hakea, Correa, Lambertia (mountain devil), Callistemon (bottlebrush), Eucalyptus, Angophora, Melaleuca, Xanthorrhoea (grasstrees) and others with big, showy flower heads, Epacris.

Seed plants

Eucalyptus, Angophora, Acacia (wattles), Casuarina and Allocasuarina (she-oaks), Glochidion (cheese tree), Lomandra, native grasses (e.g. Themeda, Danthonia), rushes (Juncus) and sedges (Gahnia).

Fruit plants

Acmena, Syzygium (lillypillys), Ficus (figs), Alphitonia, Trema, Cissus (native grape), Persoonia (geebungs), Dianella (native lily), Breynia, Stephania, saltbushes and many rainforest or wet forest species.

Native bee plants

Persoonia (geebungs), native peas (eg. Hovea, Pultenaea), native daisies (e.g. Helichrysum), heath plants (e.g. Epacris, Leucopogon), Goodenia, Tristaniopsis (water gum), Leptospermum.

Native butterfly plants

Native peas, native daisies, native grasses (eg. Poa), sedges and rushes (e.g. Carex, Juncus), Lomandra, Dianella, Bursaria (blackthorn), Macrozamia (burrawang), Dodonaea, Zieria, Correa, Indigofera, Cupaniopsis (tuckeroo), Melaleuca and mistletoes.

This list was compiled by Danie Ondinea 2002

Wildlife habitat plants of the Wolli Valley area

The tables below provide a reduced* list of plants that are indigenous, or native, to the sandstone slopes of the Wolli Valley. Most of these plants are useful to local native fauna and grow well in this area.

With other habitat components such as clean water, logs, rocks and leaf litter, these plants can be used to recreate wildlife habitat and attract native birds, lizards, butterflies and other fauna to parks, gardens, school grounds and industrial sites. Some of these plants are not easily available but community interest may encourage nurseries to grow them.

Indigenous plants that have no documented use to fauna are still important. Once studied, it is very likely they will be found to provide valuable resources for wildlife.

Plants indicated as Pied Currawong food should be thinned out within reserves and only planted where there are no alternatives. These plants may also provide food for small birds and other animals but the currawong is a major predator of eggs, nestlings and some adult birds and their population has increased dramatically in many parts of Sydney in recent years.

Click on links below to download the tables:

Trees (includes palms and very tall shrubs)


Grasses & groundcovers (includes sedges, lilies, herbs and very low shrubs <1.0m) and aquatic plants

Climbers, scramblers & twiners

Ferns & fern allies


References & further reading

*A expanded list of known habitat plants in the Valley has been printed by the Wolli Creek Preservation Society and is available for $3.00 a copy – email info@wollicreek.org.au for more information.

Tables compiled by Danie Ondinea, 2002.

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