Photo: H. Weber
The 200 ha site of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden is located in an area of 230 mm annual rainfall. It contains the best remaining pockets of natural vegetation close to Port Augusta and a good range of soil types from deep sand to claypan.
There are areas of low woodland and tall shrubland, a well developed cover of chenopods on heavier soils, perennial grasses on the sandhills and a wide variety of ephemeral species.
Also featured is an Eremophila garden with possibly the largest collection of this genus anyhwere.
Most of the sand dune area has a well developed shrub cover though some trees such as Bullock Bush (Alectryon oleifolius), Native Pine (Callitris glaucophylla), Western Myall (Acacia papyrocarpa) and Sugarwood (Myoporum platycarpum) are also found.
The dominant shrub is Sandhill Wattle (Acacia ligulata), a very widespread species in arid Australia and a prolific coloniser of disturbed areas. It produces yellow flowers after rain and its edible seeds can be ground for flour.
Commonly known by such names as bluebush, saltbush or samphire, chenopods are usually found in dry, often saline habitats. Important fodder plants, many chenopods also possess fire-retardant properties and are therefore useful as borders around highways, parks and gardens in fire-prone ares. There are more than thirty different chenopods in the Garden.
A unique and unexpected feature (for an arid lands botanic garden) is the coastal mangrove vegetation along the shoreline of Spencer Gulf.
Much of the site remains in its natural state, with the landscaped
botanic garden area covering about 80 ha.
© 2012 Friends of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden