Over 1000 vegetation types are recognised in New South Wales, and they include subtropical rainforests, arid salt-bush plains and treeless alpine herb-fields. Across these diverse landscapes live over 5810 species of plants, coexisting with animals and other organisms in complex ecosystems.
The rainforests of New South Wales are the most varied in Australia, ranging from the lush subtropical forests of the north east, to dry vine thickets in the semi-arid west. Within these rainforests, a huge variety of plants and animals can be found, more than in any other vegetation type in the state.
Wet sclerophyll forests are found along the eastern escarpment and in coastal regions of New South Wales. Within these forests, eucalypts can grow to 70 metres tall, with broad-leaved shrubby or ferny understoreys. Occasionally, wildfire is part of these forests’ cycle of renewal.
Some of the most scenic parts of New South Wales are covered with dry sclerophyll forests with shrubby understoreys. Many of the understorey plants, which include waratahs, grow very slowly. Some have associations with fungi or bacteria, allowing them to better absorb nutrients from the poor soils on which they grow.