A wide-ranging variety of heath plants grow on the Central Plateau in different habitat types. From micro-heath just centimeters high to tall heaths up to 2 meters, some species are plain while others display a range of vibrant colors. The Australian Epacris gunnii plant grows up to 1 metre high with white flowers down the branches during spring and summer. It is common in heaths on the lower surface of the plateau in communities with Richea acerosa, an endemic Tasmanian heath plant also with small white flowers, and Sprengelia incarnata, a native Australian plant with clusters of pink flowers. These communities flourish on mostly open, flat areas with clay soils amongst Hakea epiglottis shrubbery. Higher on the plateau near Lake Augusta these heath plants can also be found in communities with Epacris serpyllifolia, an alpine heath native to southeast Australia which grows up to 1.2 metres in height with white tubular flowers in spring and summer. Epacris gunnii is also found with Sprengelia incarnata and Richea acerosa in heaths around Lake St Claire along with Richea procera, another small shrub of the richea genus, and Epacris lanuginosa, which has clumps of pretty white flowers but narrow sharp leaves. Established heaths not affected by the bushfires usually contain Orites acicularis among several species of dwarf conifers. Commonly known as yellow bush for its yellowish needles, Orites acicularis has unremarkable white flowers. On the lower plateau shallow, damp peaty soils carry heaths of Orites acicularis with shrubs of the Protaeceae family Hakea microcarpa and Hakea epiglottis. Higher on the plateau towards the Walls of Jerusalem national park closed heaths with higher plants up to 2 metres high are common. Richea scoparia has dense foliage and sharp leaves that can cause problems for bushwalkers with bare legs however the red, pink or white flowers provide a spectacular springtime display and are a delicacy for wallabies. It can dominate some heaths or grow alongside Orites acicularis and Orites revoluta another common Tasmanian heath plant with plain white flowers in the summer. Other varieties of the epacrid family and daisy family appear in the heaths, and there can also be Boronias such as Hibbertia, small tea trees, the Boronia citriodora with its strong lemon scent, and various Pimelea like the cushion plant Pimelea pygmea. Subalpine heaths commonly have taller shrubs such as Waratah, pea flowers, Baeckea gunniana which is dense and can grow to 2 metres, and Hakeas like the Hakea lissosperma which can reach a height of 6 metres and dominates heath communities on the Lower Plateau Surface near Little Pine Lagoon.

Photo credit: JJ Harrison

Photo credit: JJ Harrison