Australian native plant
An Australian native plant is a species that has grown in Australia since before European settlement.
An exotic plant is a species that has been introduced to Australia since European settlement.
An alien plant is an Australian native species that has been introduced to some area in Australia where it since European settlement.
Indigenous or local native plant
An indigenous or local native plant is an Australian native species that has grown in a given area of Australia since before European settlement. It is important to note that many Australian native species have very wide distributions across the Australian continent, e.g. almost the entire length of the east coast.
However, strictly speaking, an Australian native plant can only be regarded as indigenous if it has been propagated from seeds of cuttings collected in your area from plant populations that are known to have been growing in that area since before European settlement. I.E. The plant carries the specific genetic traits of the local population of that species.
Indigenous plants will nearly always perform the best because they are specifically adapted to your local environmental conditions.
Indigenous plants are associated with a provenance that refers to the area where the seeds or cuttings were collected from. Examples of provenance are 'Thomastown', 'Brisbane Ranges' and 'Kakadu'.
Environmental weeds are those exotic or alien species that are invasive, spreading aggressively through an area and displacing the naturally occurring vegetation and reducing the local biodiversity. This reduce the available habitat for native reptiles, birds and marsupials and instead encourage the proliferation of rabbits, foxes and Indian Miners etc. that then put additional pressure on the native fauna. For example rabbits prefer to dig their burrows in boxthorn and gorse thickets, they remove the ground flora which can then trigger erosion.
The retail nursery sector, and those members of the public that purchase plants from retail nurseries, are major sources of environmental. For example the noxious weed Cape Broom was nursery plant of the year in 1988 only to be declared a few years later, by all state governments, as a noxious weed.
Pasture seed producers are also a major source of environmental and noxious weeds. For example the noxious weed serrated tussock was and continues to be a contaminant of some batches of pasture seeds.
And indeed the pasture species themselves are major environmental weeds, e.g. Phalaris aquatica and Gamba Grass (now banned) in northern Australia.
Noxious weeds are those environmental weeds that have been declared by the state government and have legislation attached to them that require relevant land managers to control or eliminate them. It can also mean restrictions to any economic activates that involve earth movement Noxious weeds in particular and environmental weeds in general cost the Australian economy hundreds of millions of dollars annually in lost agricultural production and taxes etc.
Why is European settlement the determinant?
The spread of environmental weeds is in fact a natural ecological process. For example migratory birds can introduce exotic plant species to Australia. However this sort of introduction occurs at a very slow rate, perhaps one new species every few thousand years or so, and therefore has minimal impact on the local environment in the long term.
However since European settlement tens of thousands of new species have been introduced to Australia in a little over 200 years. Add this our ability to spread them widely across that landscape through earth moving, grazing and the retail nursery industry etc. and we have a virtual tsunami of weeds washing across the continent.
As a result the combined environmental impact of all these weeds has been, is and will continue to be devastating to Australian biodiversity.
A plant species where all the plants flower, set seed and die in 1 year.
A plant species where all the plants flower, set seed and die in 2 years.
Flowering plants are divided into two broad groups: dicotyledons and monocotyledons. Plants with long leaves and parallel veins are monocotyledons, e.g. grasses, lilies and palms, while those with more complex leaf shapes and branching veins are dicotyledons, e.g. trees and shrubs. Broadleaf weeds refer to those weed species that are dicotyledons.
A plant species that has seperate male and female plants, each of which produce either male and female flowers.
Herbaceous Plant or Herb
Any plant species, monocotyledon or dicotyledon, that does not produce woody tissue.
A plant species where all the plants produce bisexual flowers with both male and female parts.
A plant species where all the plants have a life span of a few yeaor more. Those with a lifespan of a few years are referred to as short lived perennials.
A plant that has a single main trunk.
A plant that has multiple trunks.