Mills' Vegetation Classification



Dominant Species



Closed Forest

(Warm Temperate Rainforest)

Cerotopetalum apetalum

Backhousia myrtifolia

Callicoma serratifolia

Tristoniopsis laurina

Restricted to one occurrence in deep gully.


Tall Open Forest and Open Forest

Eucalyptus pilularis

E. gummifera

E. piperita

Common on slopes and in gullies on deep sands.


Woodland and Open Woodland

E. gummifera

E. sclerophylla

Widespread on sandstone areas


Open Woodland and Sedgeland

Casuarina glauca

Baumea juncea

In estuarine conditions along lower section of Duck Gully


Open woodland

Melaleuca linariifolia

Wet situations in the heathland and sedgeland south of Hyams Beach


Low Woodland and Heathland

Banksia serrata

E. gummifera

Coastal plants

Along sand dunes and on some headlands



Banksia serrata

E. gummifera

Exposed headland on deep sand


Closed-Open Heathland and Sedgeland

Banksia ericifolia

Hakea teretifolia

Widespread across sandstone areas.


Wet Closed-Open Sedgeland and Heathland

Melaleuca linarifolia

Gymnosehoenus sphaerocepholus

Leptocarpus tenax

In hind dune swamp south of Hyams Beach


Open Grassland

Spinifex hirsutis

Active along frontal dunes

Community 1: Closed Forest (Rainforest)

Structure This is a closed forest or rainforest community to about 20 metres tall, which is a Simple Notophyll Vine-Fern Forest. The understorey is also dense with many shrubs and ferns.

Geology/Soils:This community occurs in a small sandstone gorge, which is protected from fire incursion and remains quite wet. The ground is very rocky and moist, and there are many epiphytic ferns and mosses. The soils are sandy and moist, with a high organic content.

Description: Rainforest plants dominate this community

Community 2: E. pilularis Tall Open Forest and Open Forest

Structure: This community is a tall open forest to open forest to over 30 metres. A middle canopy, about 15 to 18 metres tall is usually present. The under-storey is about 5 metres tall and is generally dense, with many shrubs species. The ground cover is always well developed and contains many shrubs and herbaceous species.

Geology/Soils: This community is located on the quite deep sandy soils of the slopes and coastal lowlands, mainly in gullies.

Description: Community 2 is an open forest, usually dominated by Blackbutt (Eucalyptus pilularis) with Red Bloodwood (Eucalyptus gummifera) nearly always being present and sometimes being co-dominant. The Old Man Banksia (Banksia serrata) is usually common in the middle canopy and, in some locations,  New South Wales Christmas Bush (Ceratopetalum gummiferum) is common. In Duck Gully, Sydney Peppermint (E. piperita) also occurs. The community is characterised by the large specimens of Blackbutt and a dense shrub understorey. The shrub component is diverse; common species include (Acacia longifolia, Persoonia mollis, Leptospermum attenuatum, Dodonaea triquetra and Podocarpus spinulosus. The ground cover is also diverse, with many shrub and herbaceous species. Most ground cover species are shared with the woodland of Community 3. Common ground cover species include the fern Pteridium esculentum,, the shrubs Platylobium formosum  and Hibbertia empetrifolia and the grass Themeda australis. 

Community 3: E gummifera – E. sclerophyla Woodland and Open Woodland

Structure: This community is quite variable, ranging from open woodland to open forest. The most common form is the woodland. Height is usually no more than 15 metres. The understorey is a heath land or heath land-sedgeland complex and its height and density are dependent upon fire history

Geology/Soils: The woodland is widespread across the plateau and also occurs on the dry ridges of the foothills zone. The soils are generally sandy, rocky and shallow.

Description: This community is dominated by one or both of the tree species Red Bloodwood (E. gummifera) and Scribbly Gum (E. sclerophylla. One small area on the coastal lowland to the north of Hyams Beach is dominated by Yerchuck (E. consideniana). Other tree species which occur In this community are Sydney Peppermint (E. piperita), Blackbutt (E. pilularis) and Old Man Banksla (Banksia serrata. On the edge of the plateau, adjacent to the heathland/sedgeland areas of Community 8, an open woodland of E. sclerophylla occurs. 

A middle canopy containing the species B. serrata often occurs; on the lower areas near the coast, it also contains the species E. gummiferum. The understorey is dominated by a diverse range of shrubs, some of the more common species being Banksia ericifolia, B. spinulosa, B. paludosa, Leptospermum attenuatum, Acacia longifolia, A. suaveolens  and Lanbertia Formosa. The ground cover also contains a high diversity of species and varies according to the moisture regime and fire history of the site. Shrubs, herbaceous plants and sedges are common in the ground cover. 

Community 4: Casuarina glauca Open Woodland and Sedgeland

Structure: This community is woodland to open woodland, to about 20 metres tall. There is no shrub understorey, but a dense ground cover of only one sedge species.

Geology/Soils: This community is found on the sandy soils of the estuarine section of the stream in Duck Gully and is influenced by the saltwater conditions. The soils are generally water logged for most of the time and are quite peaty.

Description: This community is a very simple one, both in terms of its structure and the number of species present. A rather sparse canopy of Swamp Oak (Casuarina glauca) occurs above a low dense ground cover of the sedge plant Baumea juncea. Few other plant species occur in this community, except where it borders other communities. Other typical estuarine species also occur in this community; these include Phragmites australia and Jincus kraussii. 

Community 5: Melaleuca linariifolia Open Woodland

Structure: Structurally, this is a rather simple community having an open to very open canopy to about 15 metres high, above a dense ground cover of shrubs and sedges.

Geology/Soils: The soils below this community are mainly derived from marine sand, and the community occurs only around the hind dune swamp in the south-eastern section of the study area. The soils are very wet and quite peaty, and are often under standing water.

Description: This is a woodland community dominated by the tree species Melaleuca linariifolia. The understorey is varied and its composition changes from one location to another. Overall, the community is only found in small patches around the major swampland (Community 9) in the south of the study area. Typical swampland and heathland plants are found in the community. 

Community 6: Banksia serrata Low Woodland and Heathland

Structure: This community is a low woodland or mallee to about 5 metres tall, with a heathland understorey. The community is only about one metre tall on the exposed seaward side.

Geology/Soils: Community 6 occurs on sand dunes and, in one case, on a headland along the coastal section of the study area. It mainly occurs on top of the large sand dunes in the south-eastern part of the study area.

Description: This community is a low woodland and heathland, containing many of the typical heathland plants, which occur in the other communities of the study area. The main trees are Red Bloodwood (E. gummifera) and Old Man Banksia (Banksia serrata). Other trees which occur are Banga1ay (E. botryoides), Sydney Peppermint (E. piperita), Coast Banksia (Banksia integrifolia), Coastal Tea-tree (Leptospermum laevigatum) and the mallee (E. obtusifolia.  The community is characterised by the presence of typical coastal plant species such as Montoca elliptica, Allocasuarina verticallata, Myoporum insulare, L. laevigatum and B. integrifolia. 

Community 7: Eucalyptus gummifera –Banksia serrata Woodland

Structure: This community is a low woodland to woodland community, to about 15 metres tall. The understorey is typical of the heathland occurring on the deeper sands of the area

Geology/Soi1s: The woodland occurs on deep sand close to a headland, where it is exposed to the effects of coastal winds. 

Description: This community is similar to some forms of Community 3 and Community 6. It is distinctive because of its occurrence on a high site close to the coast, where it is exposed to severe coastal winds, which have resulted in the growth of a rather low and dense canopy. The common trees in the community are Red Bloodwood (E: gummierfa) and Old Man Banksia (Banksia serrata) The understorey is similar to the E. pilularis. Open Forest (Community 2), which is adjacent to this community. 

Community 8: Closed-Open Heathland and Sedgeland

Structure: This community varies in its structure and species composition, depending upon fire history and topographic location. The community is really a complex of community types, including shrub land, heathland and sedgeland; these are mostly less than 2 metres tall and are never more than about 4 metres tall.

Geology/Soils: This community occurs on broad areas of the sandstone plateau1 where it is very common (see Figure 3:7 ). The soils vary from skeletal sands on rock outcrops to rather deep and peaty alluvial deposits.

Description: On a finer scale, this community is a complex of communities ranging from dense shrub land, which has remained unburnt for some time, to a sparse heathland on rocky outcrops. The vegetation is species-rich, representing some of the most diverse native vegetation In the region. The survey data … shows the variety of plant species occurring in this community type.  The shrub species are particularly diverse, with many species belonging to the families Myrtaceae, Epacridaceae and Proteaceae. The families Cyperaceae and Restionaceae are well represented in the areas of sedgeland. 

Community 9: Wet Closed-Open Sedgeland and Heathland

Structure: This is a closed to open heathland and sedgeland to about two metres tall, but mostly less than one metre.

Geology/Soils: The sand is of a marine origin, which has been depositing along the old shoreline. Soils are very wet and are high in organic matter.

Description: This is a rather variable sedgeland or heathland community. The depth of the water table determines the distribution of the species of the community. The very wet areas, which are located at the centre of the swamp and are obvious on the aerial photograph, are dominated by sedges and shrubby specimens of Melaleuca linariifolia. Other common swamp species are Leptospermum juperinum, Gymnoschoenus spheerocephalus, Viminara juncea, Sprenglia incarnata, Restio complanetus and Empodisma minus. On the drier, higher ground shrubs become very common, particularly Banksia ericifolia and Hakea teretifolia. 

Community 10: Spinifex hirsutus Open Grassland

Structure: This is a rather sparse grassland community with few plant species other than the dominant grasses.

Geology/Soils: This community occurs on the active frontal dunes, behind the beaches of the area. It is mainly found along Hyams Beach (Seamans Beach?).

Description: This grassland community is dominated by the grass Spinifex (Spinifex hirsutus). Few other plant species are present1 except to the rear of the dune where some protection is afforded from the coastal winds and where sand movement is less. The unstable nature of the dunes and the extremely exposed location mean that few plant species can survive in the area. The plants found in this community, some of which are exotic species, are typical of the sand dunes along the South Coast.

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