Flora for Fauna

Inspired by the Flora for Fauna concept that originated in UK, and is is administered by the Natural History Museum: www.nhm.ac.uk/science/projects/fff, we have compiled a list of around 280 species, selected from our database of 600 species indigenous to the greater Sydney region. This selection includes only species that attract native birds (fruiteaters, honeyeaters, insecteaters and seedeaters), butterflies or koalas. Nursery-bred, artificial hybrids are generally detrimental to wildlife and the environment, and are excluded from our database, as they are from the UK Flora for Fauna database. (For more detailed information, click on Hybrids.)

Throughout the natural world, plants and animals live in balanced, mutually supportive relationships within communities or ecosystems. Each organism within the community occupies its own particular niche and depends on others for food, shelter or pollination.

The term 'biodiversity' - short for biological diversity - refers to the diversity of plants and animals within a community. Including the human family, it forms a complex of communities, the Web of Life.

Until European settlement in 1788, Australia was covered in a mosaic of interlacing plant communities including heaths, grasslands, woodlands, open forest, rainforest and wetlands. A balanced diversity of birds, mammals, marsupials, reptiles, fish and other wildlife thrived within them.

By the end of the twentieth century, many of these once abundant species had become extinct, and many more are still threatened with extinction.

Land clearing in NSW generates up to 35 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year, the equivalent of more than 7 million new cars on our roads. Land clearing, loss of habitat and the replacement of indigenous species with introduced species (and artificial hybrids), are the major causes of plant and wildlife extinctions. Despite warnings from environmentalists, ecologists and others, invasive introduced plants, animals and birds continue to spread across the continent, checked only by the sustained efforts of undervalued, underpaid bush regenerators and volunteer land-care groups.

Gardens are the major source of new environmental weeds with over 6 in 10 of the new weeds in Australia since the 1970s being ‘ornamental' plants introduced by the mainstream nursery  industry, that have escaped and self-propagated in natural areas. Potential environmental weeds still marketed, include Orange Hawkweed, Horsetail and Mexican Feather Grass, and many others too numerous to mention.

Some native wildlife is found in a variety of habitats, others only where particular plant species grow in sufficient numbers to provide a regular source of food. For example, Pardalotes are small birds that live almost entirely in eucalypt forests and woodlands. They need the trees for nesting and for shelter, and they benefit them by feeding on scale, thrips and other insect pests. For this reason Pardalotes are sometimes called the 'vacuum cleaners' of the gum trees.

A number of exotic plant species help sustain introduced birds such as the Indian Mynah, a pest species that displaces native birds. Throughout the winter season, exotic winter fruiting trees and shrubs such as Cotoneaster and Firethorn, feed the Pied Currawong, thus contributing to the population explosion of these predatory birds. With the arrival of spring, hordes of these  "wolves that fly" (as ecologist Prof. Harry Recher describes them), descend on nestlings, eggs and smaller birds - whose habitat has already been reduced or destroyed - thus contributing to their ‘Endangered' or ‘Threatened' species status, if not to their extinction. All to satisfy an obsession for exotic plants and the mainstream nursery industry's bottom line.

If you have a garden you can undo some of this damage and help restore the balance of Australia's biological diversity, while creating a retreat of unsurpassed beauty and a sanctuary for native wildlife.

To attract a wide variety of native birds and other wildlife, you need to provide food, water and shelter. This is easy to achieve if you carry out the following:

Grow plants of differing heights, from trees to tall shrubs to small shrubs to grasses and groundcovers. These will provide a variety of natural food sources, nesting sites and protective cover, and an incentive to a greater variety of birds and other wildlife to visit and maybe take up residence in your garden.

Include nectar-producing understorey plants such as local banksias, grevilleas and correas, to encourage smaller honeyeaters to settle or become regular visitors. Nectar producing trees alone are not enough.

Many gardeners, unaware of their detrimental effects on wildlife, cultivate hybrid eucalypts and grevilleas with enlarged flowers. Disregarding the dubious aesthetics of these heavily promoted, nursery-bred products, their eye-catching labels fail to inform you that they attract only the larger honeyeaters such as the Red Wattle-bird, that is in no way endangered and that defends its territory against smaller, more vulnerable species such as the tiny Scarlet Honeyeater. The labels also fail to mention that, while sterile hybrids may produce nectar, they provide little or no pollen (= protein) - essential for healthy growth - thus failing to offer the correct balance offered by the species.

Provide safe nesting sites for these smaller native birds by reserving a part of your garden for dense native shrubs such as wattles and hakeas with prickly leaves, to deter cats and other predators.

Grow insect-attracting plants such as your local wattles, eucalypts and tea-trees, as many small birds including the Fairy Wren and Tawney Frogmouth feed almost entirely on insects. Insect-attracting plants are also worth growing, as birds that feed from them help control insect pests, and because nestlings of all species, including honeyeaters and seedeaters, need a regular supply of protein, partly provided by the insects that their parents feed them.

To attract seed-eaters such as finches and rosellas to your garden, grow local wattles, casuarinas and grasses.

Avoid artificial foods because these create dependence and may lack the correct balance of nutrients.

Provide your feathered visitors with regular access to clean water, for drinking, for bathing before preening their feathers and to help them keep cool in summer. Most bird baths are far too low. To keep cats out of reach the pedestal should be at least a metre or more in height, and the bowl up to half a metre across with sloping sides to provide variable water depth for a variety of birds.

(Install to a depth of about half a metre, a hardwood or treated softwood post, about 1.5 metres in height by 125 millimetres across, then secure a glazed saucer or shallow bowl using a proprietary adhesive, and fill with water. Your local birds will be more likely to use their new facility if you place it close to protective trees and shrubs. Allow several days for the birds to discover it.)

Attract frogs and other native wildlife to your garden pond by including floating ferns, water lilies and other cover-plants and by surrounding the pond with a few boulders and half-buried hollow logs, to provide these creatures with refuge and shelter.

To attract butterflies, grow Lomandra, Pimelea and other suitable species indicated in the list that follows..

Encourage birds and maybe possums to come and live in your garden by installing strategically placed hollow logs and nesting boxes, with the openings protected from direct sunlight and prevailing winds, until trees and shrubs have developed enough to provide natural nesting sites.

If you live close to bushland, by growing local Eucalyptus species suitable as food sources for native creatures, you will also attract them to your garden.


Botanical name Common name Wildlife
TREES   F = Fruiteaters

H = Honeyeaters

I = Insecteaters

S = Seedeaters

B = Butterflies

K = Koalas
Acacia binervata Two-veined Hickory I S
Acacia binervia

(Acacia glaucescens)
Coast Myall, Karreewan I S
Acacia decurrens Sydney Green Wattle I S B
Acacia elata Cedar Wattle I S
Acacia falciformis Broad-leaf Hickory


Acacia fimbriata Fringed Wattle


Acacia floribunda Gossamer Wattle I S
Acacia implexa Hickory Wattle, Lightwood I S
Acacia longifolia Sydney Golden Wattle I S
Acacia maidenii Maiden's Wattle I S
Acacia mearnsii Black Wattle I S
Acacia parramattensis Parramatta Green Wattle I S
Acacia parvipinnula Silver-stemmed Wattle I S
Acacia prominens Gosford Wattle I S
Acmena smithi Lilly Pilly F S
Allocasuarina littoralis Black She-oak S
Allocasuarina torulosa Forest She-oak S
Allocasuarina verticillata Drooping She-oak S
Alphitonia excelsa Red Ash, Mur-rung S
Angophora bakeri Narrow-leaf Apple H I S
Angophora costata Sydney Red Gum H I S K
Angophora floribunda Rough-barked Apple H I S B
Angophora hispida Dwarf Apple H I S
Archontophoenix cunninghamiana Bangalow Palm S B
Banksia integrifolia White Honeysuckle H I S
Banksia serrata Old Man Banksia H I S
Brachychiton acerifolius Illawarra Flame Tree I B
Callicoma serratifolia Black Wattle I B
Callistemon salignus Willow Bottlebrush H I
Callitris rhomboidea Port Jackson Pine S
Casuarina cunninghamiana River Oak S
Casuarina glauca Swamp Oak S
Ceratopetalum apetalum Coachwood I
Clereodendrum tomentosum Hairy Clereodendrum I S B
Commersonia fraseri Brush Kurrajong I
Corymbia (Eucalyptus) eximia Yellow Bloodwood H I S
Corymbia (Eucalyptus) gummifera Red Bloodwood H I S K
Corymbia (Eucalyptus) maculata Spotted Gum H I S K
Cupaniopsis anacardioides Tuckeroo S
Diploglottis australis Native Tamarind S B
Ehretia acuminata Koda F S
Elaeocarpus reticulatus Blueberry Ash F I S
Endiandra sieberi Hard Corkwood F S
Eucalyptus amplifolia Cabbage Gum I S
Eucalyptus botryoides Bangalay I S K
Eucalyptus cinerea Argyle Apple I S K
Eucalyptus elata River Peppermint I S
Eucalyptus haemastoma Scribbly Gum I S K
Eucalyptus luehmanniana Yellow-top Ash I S
Eucalyptus mannifera Brittle Gum I S
Eucalyptus melliodora Yellow Box I S K
Eucalyptus microcorys Tallow Wood I S K
Eucalyptus multicaulis Whip-stick Mallee Ash I S
Eucalyptus parramattensis Parramatta Red Gum I S
Eucalyptus pauciflora Snow Gum I S
Eucalyptus pilularis Blackbutt I S K
Eucalyptus piperita Sydney Peppermint I S
Eucalyptus punctata Grey Gum H I S K
Eucalyptus racemosa Snappy Gum I S K
Eucalyptus robusta Swamp Mahogany H I S K
Eucalyptus saligna Sydney Blue Gum I S K
Eucalyptus sclerophylla Hard-leaf Scribbly Gum I S K
Eucalyptus sideroxylon Red Ironbark, Mugga Ironbark H I S
Eucalyptus sieberi Silver-top Ash I S
Eucalyptus sparsifolia Narrow-leaf Stringybark I S
Eucalyptus stricta Blue Mountains Mallee Ash I S
Eucalyptus tereticornis Forest Red Gum H I S K
Eucalyptus viminalis Ribbon Gum, Manna Gum I S K
Eucryphia moorei Pinkwood H I S
Ficus coronata Sandpaper Fig F S
Ficus rubiginosa Port Jackson Fig F S B
Glochidion ferdinandi Cheese Tree S
Hakea salicifolia Willow-leaf Hakea H I S
Hibiscus heterophyllus Native Rosella I
Hymenosporum flavum Native Frangipani H I B
Livistona australis Cabbage-tree Palm I
Melaleuca armillaris Bracelet Honey-myrtle I
Melaleuca decora White Feather Honey-myrtle I
Melaleuca linariifolia Snow-in-Summer H I K
Melaleuca quinquenervia Broad-leaf Paperbark I
Melaleuca styphelioides Prickly Paperbark I
Melia azedarach var. australasica White Cedar I S
Omalanthus populifolius

(Omalanthus nutans)
Bleeding Heart I
Podocarpus elatus Plum Pine F S
Polyscias elegans Celerywood S
Rapanea howitteana Turnipwood S B
Schizomeria ovata White Cherry S
Sloanea australis Maiden's Blush S
Syncarpia glomulifera Turpentine H I
Syzygium australe Brush Cherry F H I S
Syzygium oleosum Blue Lillypilly F S
Syzygium paniculatum Magenta Lillypilly F S
Tristaniopsis laurina Water Gum H I
Acacia amoena Boomerang Wattle I S
Acacia buxifolia Box-leaf Wattle I S
Acacia decora Western Golden Wattle I S
Acacia elongata Swamp Wattle I S
Acacia falcata Sickle Wattle I S
Acacia genistifolia Spreading Wattle I S
Acacia hakeoides Hakea-leaf Wattle I S
Acacia linifolia Flax-leaf Wattle I S
Acacia myrtifolia Myrtle Wattle I S
Acacia oxycedrus Spike Wattle I S
Acacia paradoxa Kangaroo Thorn I S
Acacia rubida Red-stem Wattle I S
Acacia sophorae Coastal Wattle I S
Acacia suaveolens Sweet-scented Wattle I S
Acacia terminalis Sunshine Wattle I S
Acacia ulicifolia Prickly Moses I S
Acacia uncinata Round-leaf Wattle I S
Alocasia brisbanensis

(Alocasia macrorrhiza)
Cunjevoi, Spoon Lily S
Alpinia caerulea Native Ginger S
Aotus ericoides Aotus I S B
Astroloma pinifolium Pine Heath H
Austromyrtus tenuifolia Narrow-leaf Myrtle S
Babingtonia similis

(Baeckea virgata)
Twiggy Heath-myrtle H I
Banksia aemula Wallum Banksia H I S
Banksia ericifolia Heath Banksia H I S
Banksia marginata Silver Banksia H I S
Banksia oblongifolia Fern-leaf Banksia H I S
Banksia robur Swamp Banksia H I S
Banksia spinulosa Hairpin Banksia H I S
Boronia anemonifolia Sticky Boronia I
Boronia floribunda Pale-pink Boronia I
Boronia ledifolia Sydney Boronia I
Boronia pinnata Pinnate Boronia I
Boronia serrulata Native Rose I
Bossiaea heterophylla Variable Bossiaea I B
Bursaria spinosa Blackthorn I B
Callistemon citrinus Crimson Bottlebrush H I
Callistemon linearifolius   H I
Callistemon linearis Narrow-leaf Bottlebrush H I
Callistemon pinifolius Pine-leaf Bottlebrush H I
Callistemon rigidus Stiff Bottlebrush


Callistemon sieberi

(Callistemon paludosus)
River Bottlebrush H I
Callistemon subulatus Dwarf Bottlebrush H I
Calytrix tetragona Fringe Myrtle I B
Ceratopetalum gummiferum NSW Christmas Bush I
Cordyline stricta Slender Palm Lily S
Correa reflexa Native Fuchsia H
Crowea saligna Crowea S
Darwinia fascicularis   H
Dillwynia floribunda Bacon and Eggs I B
Dillwynia retorta Bacon and Eggs I B
Epacris longiflora Fuchsia Heath H
Epacris obtusifolia Blunt-leaf Heath H
Gompholobium grandiflorum   I
Gompholobium latifolium Golden Glory Pea I
Goodia lotifolia Clover Tree I S B
Grevillea acanthifolia   H I
Grevillea arenaria   H I
Grevillea aspleniifolia   H
Grevillea buxifolia Grey Spider Flower H
Grevillea diffusa Nodding Spider Flower H
Grevillea juniperina Prickly Spider Flower H I
Grevillea laurifolia Laurel Grevillea H
Grevillea linearifolia White Spider Flower H
Grevillea longifolia Fern-leaf Grevillea H I S
Grevillea mucronulata Green Spider Flower H S
Grevillea oleoides Red Spider Flower H I S
Grevillea sericea Pink Spider Flower H I S
Grevillea shiressii Mullet Creek Grevillea H S
Grevillea speciosa Red Spider Flower H I S
Hakea bakeriana   H I S
Hakea dactyloides Broad-leaf Hakea H I S
Hakea gibbosa   H I S
Hakea propinqua   H I S
Hakea sericea Silky Hakea, Needlebush H I S
Hakea teretifolia Dagger Hakea H I S
Helichrysum scorpioides   I B
Hibbertia linearis Showy Guinea Flower I
Hibiscus heterophyllus Native Rosella I
Howittia trilocularis Blue Howittia I
Indigofera australis Austral Indigo B
Isopogon anemonifolius Broad-leaf Drumsticks I
Isopogon anethifolius Narrow-leaf Drumsticks I
Jacksonia scoparia Dogwood I B
Kunzea ambigua Tick Bush H I B
Lambertia formosa Mountain Devil H I S
Leptospermum grandifolium

(Leptospermum lanigerum)
Woolly Tea-tree I B
Leptospermum juniperinum Prickly Tea-tree I
Leptospermum polygalifolium

(Leptospermum flavescens)
Yellow Tea-tree I S
Leptospermum rotundifolium Round-leaf Tea-tree I
Leptospermum squarrosum Peach Tea-tree I
Macrozamia communis Burrawang B
Melaleuca diosmatifolia

(Melaleuca erubescens)
Rosy Paperbark I
Melaleuca hypericifolia Hillock Bush H I
Melaleuca nodosa Ball Honey-myrtle I
Melaleuca squamea Swamp Honey-myrtle I
Melaleuca squarrosa Scented Paperbark I
Melaleuca thymifolia Thyme Honey-myrtle H I
Olearia phlogopappa Alpine Daisy Bush I B
Olearia tomentosa   I B
Persoonia pinifolia Pine-leaf Geebung F I
Petrophile pulchella Conesticks S
Phebalium (Leionema) squamulosum ssp. squamulosum Scaly Phebalium I B
Philotheca myoporoides

(Eriostemon myoporoides)
Native Daphne I
Pimelea linifolia Slender Rice Flower I B
Pittosporum multiflorum

(Citriobatus pauciflorus)
Orange Thorn F
Pittosporum revolutum Yellow Pittosporum F I S
Pomaderris ferruginea Rusty Pomaderris I B
Prostanthera incisa

(Prostanthera sieberi)
Cut-leaf Mint Bush I
Prostanthera ovalifolia Purple Mint Bush I
Prostanthera rotundifolia Round-leaf Mint Bush I
Pultenaea daphnoides Large-leaf Bush Pea I B
Pultenaea flexilis Graceful Bush Pea I B
Pultenaea villosa Bronze Bush Pea I B
Swainsonia galegifolia Darling Pea I B
Telopea speciosissima NSW Waratah H
Viminaria juncea Native Broom I
Austrodanthonia (Danthonia) tenuior A Wallaby Grass S
Blandfordia nobilis Christmas Bells H
Bulbine bulbosa Golden Lily I
Carex appressa Tussock Sedge B
Chionochloa (Danthonia) pallida Silver-top Wallaby Grass S B
Dianella caerulea Blue Flax Lily S
Dianella longifolia   S
Dianella revoluta Tinsel Lily S
Doryanthes excelsa Gymea Lily H I
Gahnia microstachya   S B
Gahnia sieberana Red-fruited Saw-sedge S B
Lepidosperma laterale Variable Sword-sedge S
Lomandra longifolia Spiny Mat Rush S B
Lomandra obliqua Twisted Mat Rush S B
Patersonia fragilis Short Purple-flag I B
Patersonia glabrata Leafy Purple Flag I B
Patersonia longifolia Dwarf Purple-flag I B
Patersonia sericea Purple Flag Iris I B
Poa labillardieri Tussock Grass S B
Restio (Baloskion) tetraphyllus Tassel Cord Rush B
Microlaena stipoides Weeping Grass S
Sowerbaea juncea Vanilla Plant B
Themeda australis

(Themeda triandra)
Kangaroo Grass S B
Thysanotus juncifolius Fringe Lily I B
Thysanotus tuberosus Common Fringe Lily I B
Xanthorrhoea australis Grass Tree H I S
Xanthorrhoea media Forest Grass-tree H I S
Billardiera scandens Appleberry H S
Cissus antarctica Kangaroo Vine F S
Cissus hypoglauca Five-leaf Water Vine F S
Clematis aristata Travellers Joy I
Hardenbergia violacea False Sarsaparilla I
Hibbertia dentata Toothed Guinea Flower I
Hibbertia scandens Snake Vine I
Kennedia rubicunda Dusky Coral Pea H I S
Morinda jasminoides Sweet Morinda F
Pandorea pandorana Wonga Wonga Vine H I
Passiflora cinnabarina Red Passion Flower S B
Actinotus helianthi Flannel Flower I
Allocasuarina nana Dwarf She-oak S
Astroloma humifusum Cranberry Heath H
Bauera rubioides River Rose, Dog Rose I
Chrysocephalum apiculatum Yellow Buttons I B
Chrysocephalum semipapposum Clustered Everlasting I B
Einadia nutans Native Seaberry F
Enchylaena tomentosa Ruby Saltbush F
Eremophila debilis

(Myoporum debile)
Amulla, Winter Apple F I
Goodenia hederacea Violet-leaf Goodenia I
Grevillea x gaudichaudi   H
Hibbertia diffusa   I
Hibbertia empetrifolia Trailing Guinea Flower I
Isotoma axillaris Rock Isotome I B
Isotoma fluviatilis Swamp Isotome I B
Kennedia prostrata Running Postman H I
Scaevola aemula Fairy Fan Flower I
Scaevola calendulacea Scented Fan Flower I
Scaevola ramosissima Snake Flower I
Wahlenbergia communis Tufted Bluebell I
Wahlenbergia gracilis Native Bluebell I
Wahlenbergia stricta Tall Bluebell  

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