Australia's native flora and fauna is truly unique. Animals such as the kangaroo, possum, emu, koala, frill necked lizard and the platypus are found nowhere else on Earth. Our native flora includes beautiful specimens such as the waratah, banksia, kangaroo paw and bottlebrush. Flora is richer than in Europe and Asia combined.
So, why is it that this place has so many whimsical and exotic animals and plants? The explanation is that 55 million years ago Australia split away from the giant super-continent known as Gondwanaland. It drifted away from Antarctica to a warmer climate and evolved in total isolation. Ever since Australia has been isolated from the rest of the world by vast oceans. Indigenous animals and plants had no contact with species from other parts of the world. This means, that they developed separately, which made them so different.
Australia's distinct vegetation began to take shape after Australia became a continent.
85% of Australian indigenous plants that total 28000 species are unique to this land.
Nowadays Australia's tropical north is largely covered with forests, including now almost extinct rainforest. Due to the harsh and dry climate of the inland, plants like eucalypts and wattles (acacias) dominate the grasslands. But despite this climate even the desert turns into a beautiful botanical garden after rainfall.
The gum tree, or eucalypt, is ubiquitous except in the deepest rainforests and the most arid regions. Of the 700 species of the Eucalyptus genus, 95% occur naturally in Australia, the rest grow in New Guinea, the Philippines and Indonesia. Eucalyptus wood is prized and its oil is used for pharmaceutical and cosmetic products.
Acacias are particularly dominant in the arid and semi-arid areas of Australia. Around 1000 species of wattle are found there. Many wattles have deep green leaves and bright...