Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Littoral rainforests

Sun, surf and sand are not commonly associated with rainforests. However, scattered patches of distinctive Littoral Rainforests, relatives of Subtropical Rainforests, grow in coastal locations.

Because of their closeness to the sea, Littoral Rainforests are constantly exposed to varying degrees of salt-laden sea spray and winds. To combat the salt, most Littoral Rainforests are found behind sheltering headlands or coastal dunes which block most of the spray. In less sheltered locations, the salt spray kills of exposed leaves and branches, creating a dense thicket sheared by salt and wind.

Littoral Rainforests can grow on a range of parent materials including slate, basalt and, in some cases, deep beds of sand.

While too much salt spray would kill the rainforest, a small amount of spray supplies enough dissolved nutrients to sustain it.

Common plants include Tuckeroo (Cupaniopsis anacardioides), Broad-leaved Lilly Pilly (Acmena hemilampra), Riberry (Syzygium luehmannii) and Cryptocarya triplinervis.

Littoral Rainforests
Features of Littoral Rainforests