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Forests

In the northern and eastern coastlines of the Australian continent are vast areas of forest which experience rainfall ranging from 1000 to 2500 millimeters per year.

In the broad-leaved rainforests of the north, buttressing fig trees, interlacing lianas, cabbage fan palms, entanglements of lawyer vines, eucalypts, nettle trees and fungi create a dank and brooding atmosphere.

The opening forests around the top end of the Northern Territory and on the east coast are less formidable and dense.

Here eucalypts such as mountain ash, Eucalyptus regnans, spotted gun, E. maculata and hoop pine, Araucaria cunninghamii, dominate the landscape, with the perennial plants, like prickly Moses, Acacia ulicifolia, and purple coral-pea, Hardenbergia violacea, flowering in spring. In New South Wales and Tasmanian forests, the waratah, Telopea speciosissima, blooms with its crimson composite flower, 10 centimeters wide, on a single straight stem. The waratah is the floral emblem of New South Wales.

Golden wattle, Acacia pycnantha, is Australia's floral emblem. It is one of 850 species of Australian acacia found in scrublands.The bark is a source of gum arabic used in tanning. Wattle has fragrant golden yellow flowers.

The common pink heath Epacris impressa labill, is Victoria's floral emblem. It occurs mainly in the Southern parts of Victoria, cheifly in the wetter foothill country, the coastal heathlands, the Grampians and the Little Desert scrub. It grows to about 1200 meters above sea level.

The Cooktown orchid,Dendrobium bigibbum, is native to tropical Queensland, and has been chosen as the floral emblem of that state.It has purple flowers about 4 centimeters across; the orchid grows in rocks and trees in well-watered areas of Cape York Peninsula.

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