Laxmannia gracilis (c) Wendy Grimm
The Cumberland Plain is not 'just another woodland'. Hemmed in by barren sandstone plateau on all sides, the Cumberland Plain woodlands have been isolated from the woodlands west of the Great Divide for millenia. They are the only truly coastal grassy woodlands in southeast Australia.
Because of this isolation, many species common across all other grassy woodlands are absent here - for example the Aboriginal food plant Murnong (Microseris lanceolata). Similarly, there are many species here which are found nowhere else. All eight of these 'endemic' species are listed as in danger of extinction. Shanes park has large populations of at least five of these eight species: Dillwynia tenuifolia, Grevillea juniperina, Micromyrtus minitiflora, Persoonia hirsuta, and Pultenaea parviflora. Two others - Allocasuarina glareicola and Pimelea spicata may be present but have not yet been detected on site.
In addition to these rare plants, the site has a remarkable diversity of native flora. This can be attributed to the diversity of soils (shales in the east and gravels in the west), and the low level of disturbance. No comprehensive flora survey has been undertaken, however incidental surveys have recorded over 230 species of flowering plants, in addition to fungi, mosses and ferns. Vegetation communities include Cumberland Plain Woodland (on shale), Shale-Gravel Transition Forest, Castlreagh Ironbark Forest (on gravels), Coastal Riverflat Eucalypt Forest, Castlereagh Scribbly Gum Forest (on sands), and a range of wetland types.
The site has some limited weed incursions (refer Environmental Management Plan). These are generally restricted to the disturbed edges. This makes Shanes Park one of the most intact and resilient remnants in the region.
An excellent flora list is available here