Plant diversity

The Wet Tropics provides an unparalleled living record of the ecological and evolutionary processes that shaped the flora and fauna of Australia over the past 415 million years. Australia has been isolated from other land masses for millions of years and this has helped shape our distinct plants and animals.

This section describes just a few of the special plants found in the ancient Wet Tropics rainforests - mainly ancient plants like cycads, ferns, conifers and some of the first flowering plants. We have over 2800 plant species in 221 families in the World Heritage Area and about 4000 species in the bioregion. Some ancient plants have a family all to themselves.

You can learn about some very special individual species that are often very hard to find in the rainforests. The Wet Tropics is full of  intriguing plants of every shape and size. You can appreciate the tremendous beauty, colour and variation in leaves, flowers, bark, roots, fruits and seeds. And admire their sheer persistence and adaptability to survive in some remarkable places and climates.

More information

You can read all about various aspects of our unique and special plants from a range of factsheets and other web pages:

Plant evolution

You can read all about the geological history of the Wet Tropics and the evolution of its ancient plants and animals in our living museum section. This will help you understand why there is such plant diversity in the Wet Tropics and why our plants of ancient lineage are so significant.

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