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Australian Rainforest Garden

Step off the asphalt path and immerse yourself in a meandering garden that celebrates Australia’s unique rainforest plants.

The Australian Rainforest Garden was the first project funded by the Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens organisation (Foundation & Friends), when it was formed in 1983.

The garden was built around the stately old specimens of Black Bean (Castanospermum australe), Burdekin Plum (Pleiogyne timorense) and Pepperberry (Cryptocarya obovata) and consists of many species collected by Garden’s botanists and horticulturists in the Australian Gondwanan Rainforest and Wet Tropics Rainforest World Heritage areas.

Although only a small portion of Australia’s landmass contains rainforests, they are our most ancient vegetation type and a living link with the evolution of the Australian biota from its Gondwanan origins. Some of the plants in this garden are amongst the most primitive flowering plants on earth and like many of our rainforest plants, remain relatively unchanged from their fossil ancestors.

A chance encounter unearths ancient survivors 

Originally described in 1906, the Ribbonwood (Idiospermum australense) was thought to be extinct until some cows in the Daintree region of Northern Queensland met their untimely demise in 1971. An autopsy revealed that the cows had been poisoned and the toxin came from some unusual seeds in their guts. When botanists examined the seeds, they realised they were from the Ribbonwood tree and this chance encounter led to the discovery of living specimens in the Daintree rainforest.

Take the path less travelled and discover rare and treatened palms, ferns and orchids in the Australian Rainforest Garden.

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