Exploring England Studley Park Modern

Studley Park flora

Those who have been attracted to Studley Park are likely to nominate the proximity of the Yarra River and the Studley Park bush-land as the key incentive for being drawn to this inner city sanctuary.



The vast expanse of Yarra Bend/Studley Park is a haven for brush-tail and ring-tail possums, birdlife of many species including masked wood-swallows, rainbow lorikeets, red-rumped parrots, to yellow-tailed cockatoos, river darter and more recently flying-foxes. And resident water-rat! The parklands are a superb asset, the steep slopes and formerly flood-prone land through which the river snakes for 12 kilometres being a fortunate remnant, as well as a poignant reminder of what was. Extensive clearing occurred for farming and timber harvesting following early settlement. The last stands of trees in the park include some old enough to have sheltered, provided food sources and even bark canoes and tools for the original Aboriginal occupiers, the Wurundjeri Wurrung people who managed the land for thousands of years.

The very name Wurundjeri is linked to the Eucalyptus viminalis (wurun meaning manna gum) of which there are some remnant examples, sometimes hybridized (i.e., being crossed with other species; an example is marked on the looped walking track to the east of the Boathouse). Edible white, sweet and crumbly sap extrusions on the leaves (manna) were gathered on the ground by the Wurundjeri people. Also, the wood of the tree was used for the making of shields.

Luckily, some dense stands of River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) and Yellow Box (Eucalyptus melliodora) also remain.

Eucalyptus melliodora

The large shady River Red Gum is oddly named after a garden near a monastery close to Naples where it was cultivated and first described. Extensive throughout all mainland states, and commonly found along watercourses in Australia, River Redgums (or Karra, as they were known to the original inhabitants) are our most widespread tree. The tree is valued for honey and its durable hardwood and was of great significance to Aboriginal life, both for making canoes and for corroboree (ceremonial meeting).

The Yellow Box is not as large; its name (mel being Latin for honey, odora for the scent of the flowers) denotes one of the many uses of this beautiful blue-green leafed tree. Though valued as hardwood, the tree is considered the best native tree for the production of honey, having excellent taste and golden colour. Needless to say, the blossom is very attractive to birds. Few gardens are large enough for the River Red Gum, but the smaller Yellow Box may suit some.

The woodland understory includes the lightwood Acacia implexa (an attractive long-leafed upright small tree), and Acacia melanoxylon (blackwood). In deep moist soils the blackwood can grow very tall but it remains part of the understory in the natural environment, becoming stunted on basalt plains. Valued for its timber, the tree was used by the Aborigines to make fibre for fishing lines and also for making weapons and deriving medicine.


Also common is the golden wattle Acacia pycnantha, Australia's national floral emblem. Fast growing and drought resistant, the tree prefers well drained soil and is a good screening tree as well providing a source of food, medicine and glue.

Acacia pycantha

The above Acacias do not have leaves, but instead have flattened stems which are called phyllodes. In contrast, Acacia mearnsii (black wattle) has fern like dark green pinnate leaves (pinnate meaning feather, wing or fin). It is an attractive, fast growing open spreading tree, but sometimes short-lived. The delicate appearance of its foliage is shared with the silver wattle Acacia dealbata though here the pinnate leaves of the latter are bluish green. This tree prefers deep moist soil rather than the dryer, well-drained requirements of the Acacia mearnsii.

The two trees can also be distinguished by the length of the leaves which are longer in the mearnsii. Wood from the latter tree was used for weapons and the bark provided twine, medicine and gum (the gum useful for food and drink). Timber derived from Acacia dealbata was sufficiently strong for making axe handles. Other parts of this tree also provided gum which, when combined with bark, produced ointment for medicinal purposes. This tree is a source of essential oil, the aroma significant enough to be used for making perfume in France.

Many groundcovers, grasses and shrubs also thrive in Studley Park, from tussock grasses, Poa morrisii, Lomandra species, herbs and sedges, to shrubs including the pretty Correa glabra, and curious Dodonea viscosa (or hop bush) the delicate Indigofera australis, fast-growing Acacia acinacea (gold-dust wattle) and the subtle Callistemon sieberei with its cream, sometimes soft pink, brush-like flowers.


Indigofera australis


With more than 230 indigenous plants found in the park, there is much that is adaptable for gardens.


(A thorough inventory and status of vegetation, including species under risk of extinction, can be found on the Parks Victoria website Vegetation of Yarra Bend Park1.37MB PDF)


Eucalyptus leucoxylon Yellow Gum

Eucalyptus melliodora Yellow Box

Tall Shrubs and Climbers

Acacia implexa Lightwood

Acacia mearnsii Black Wattle

Acacia paradoxa; Hedge Wattle

Acacia pycnantha Golden Wattle

Bursaria spinosa Sweet Bursaria

Cassinia longifolia Dogwood

Cassytha melantha Coarse Dodder-laurel

Clematis microphylla Small-leaved Clematis

Exocarpos cupressiformis Cherry Ballart

Hardenbergia violacea Purple Coral-pea

Kunzea ericoides Burgan

Low Shrubs

Acacia acinacea Gold-dust Wattle

Atriplex semibaccata Berry Saltbush

Myoporumsp. 1 Sticky Boobialla

Olearia ramulosa var. ramulosaTwiggy Daisy-bush

Sedges, Lilies, Rushes and Grasses

Arthropodium strictum Chocolate Lily

Austrodanthoniaspp. Wallaby Grass

Austrostipaspp. Spear Grass

Dianella admixta Black-anther Flax-lily

Lomandra filiformis Wattle Mat-rush

Herbs including Daisies

Asperula conferta Common Woodruff

Bracteantha viscosa Sticky Everlasting

Convolvulus erubescens Pink Bindweed

Crassula sieberiana Austral Stonecrop

Disphyma crassifolium Rounded Noon-flower

Einadia hastata Saloop

Einadia nutans Nodding Saltbush

Gonocarpus tetragynus Common Raspwort

Kennedia prostrata Running Postman

Lepidium pseudotasmanicum Shade Pepper-cress

Pimelea curviflora Curved Rice-flower

Senecio hispidulus var. hispidulusRough Fireweed

Vittadinia cervicularis Annual New Holland Daisy

Wahlenbergia communis Tufted Bluebell



Eucalyptus camaldulensis River Red Gum

Tall Shrubs & Climbers

Acacia dealbata Silver Wattle

Callistemon sieberi River Bottlebrush

Calystegia sepium Large Bindweed

Clematis microphylla Small-leaved Clematis

Gynatrix pulchella Hemp Bush

Hymenanthera dentata Tree Violet

Leptospermum aff. lanigerumFoothill Tea-tree

Leptospermum obovatum River Tea-tree

Melaleuca ericifolia Swamp Paperbark

Ozothamnus ferrugineus Tree Everlasting

Pomaderris aspera Hazel Pomaderris

Low Shrubs

Coprosma quadrifida Prickly Currant-bush

Goodenia ovata Hop Goodenia

Mentha australis River Mint

Rubus parvifolius Small-leaf Bramble

Solanum aviculare Kangaroo Apple

Urtica incisa Scrub Nettle

Sedges, Lilies, Rushes & Grasses

Agrostis avenacea Common Blown-grass

Carex appressa Tall Sedge

Juncusspp. rushes

Lomandra longifolia Spiny-headed Mat-rush

Microlaena stipoides Weeping Grass

Phragmites australis Common Reed

Poa ensiformis Sword Tussock-grass

Herbs including Daisies

Acaena novae-zelandiae Bidgee-widgee

Alternanthera denticulata Lesser Joyweed

Centipeda cunninghamii Common Sneezeweed

Crassula helmsii Swamp Crassula

Einadia nutans Nodding Saltbush

Geranium inundatum Naked Crane's-bill

Lycopus australis Australian Gipsywort

Lythrum hyssopifolia Small Loosestrife

Persicariaspp. knotweeds

Rumex bidens Mud Dock

Senecio minimus Shrubby Fireweed