Sedgy Riparian Woodland (EVC 198)

By Murray Ralph

Sedgy Riparian Woodland near Lyonville

Sedgy Riparian Woodland near Lyonville (photo by Gayle Osborne)

This vegetation community has a scattered distribution across the Wombat State Forest. It usually occurs in narrow bands along broad, flat drainage lines, which may be seasonally inundated. However, in some parts of the Wombat Forest, such as south of Trentham, it can cover larger areas. Soils are usually alluvial of varying depths.

The overstorey is usually dominated by Swamp Gum (Eucalyptus ovata), although on some sites the rare species Black Gum (Eucalyptus aggregata) may be present. Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon) also occurs as an understorey tree.

The shrub layer is usually sparse and open, and includes Prickly Tea-tree (Leptospermum continentale), Prickly Moses (Acacia verticillata), Prickly Currant-Bush (Coprosma quadrifida) and Wiry Bossiaea (Bossiaea cordigera).

A very dense sward of Red-fruited Saw Sedge (Gahnia sieberiana) and/or Tall Sword Sedge (Lepidosperma elatius) often dominates the ground layer. Although sometimes this sedge layer is more open with scattered clumps of Spiny-headed Mat-rush (Lomandra longifolia ssp. longifolia) among a layer of small sedges, rushes, native grasses and herbs.

Sedges and rushes include Spreading Rope-rush (Empodisma minus), Club-sedges (Isolepsis spp) and Rushes (Juncus spp.), Native grasses include Slender Tussock Grass (Poa tenera) and Weeping Grass (Microlaena stipoides), Native herb species include Kidney Weed (Dicondra repens), Cinquefoil Cranesbil (Geranium potentilloides), Hairy Pennywort (Hydrocotyle hirta) and Prickfoot (Eryngium vesiculosum).

All EVC are assigned a conservation significance based on the extent to which they have been cleared from their former range. Sedgy Riparian Woodland is classified as being vulnerable. The main current threats to this EVC in the Wombat State Forest include climate change, fuel reduction burning, weed invasion and altered hydrology.