The vegetation communities of the bushcare site and South Lawson Park can be broadly divided into two categories.
A. Degraded indigenous plant communities — Modified Bushland
Some of the indigenous plant communities along the upper reaches of Lawson Creek have been degraded by introduced plant species (known as weeds; see weed list this page), or infrastructure development such as pipe and power line construction. In these degraded vegetation communities, weeds such as Privet, Blackberry and Japanese honeysuckle dominate or intermingle with small stands of indigenous plants.
B. Intact indigenous plant communities
Expanses of thriving, intact indigenous vegetation can be found throughout South Lawson Park. There are four distinct indigenous vegetation communities in the Park.
- Open-forest, characterised by two tree communities with open canopies that allow a reasonable amount of sunlight penetration. This light supports a shrub layer and a ground layer of grasses and herbs.
- densely vegetated stream (or riparian) strips
- swamps and
- small patches of rainforest.
To view the locations of each of these plant communities, visit the Blue Mountains City Council website at https://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/development/developing-land/property-search and click on View Interactive Maps. Search South Lawson Park and access Menu/Vegetation community.
These forests are characterised by four medium to tall tree species. They are often commonly referred to as eucalypt forests, or “gum tree” forests. Shrubs, grasses and herbs are also present. At South Lawson Park this forest vegetation community is comprised of two tree groupings.
A. Eucalyptus piperita (Sydney Peppermint) – Angophora costata (Smooth-barked Apple)
B. Corymbia gummifera (Red Bloodwood) – Eucalyptus sieberi (Black or Silvertop Ash).
The Open-forest community is the most extensive form of vegetation to be found in South Lawson Park. The trees and shrubs of these two communities have evolved to grow on sandstone based soils, which are characterised by low to average fertility and good drainage.
Here is a list of some prominent Open-forest tree, shrub and ground-layer species located on the bushcare site and in South Lawson Park.
Acacia terminalis Sunshine Wattle
Angophora costata Smooth-barked Apple, tree
Banksia spinulosa Hairpin Banksia
Banksia serrata Old Man Banksia
Billardiera scandens Apple Berry, climber
Cassytha pubescens Devil’s Twine, climber
Caustis flexuosa Old Man’s Beard
Corymba gummifera Red Bloodwood, tree
Dampiera stricta, small shrub
Daviesia corymbosa Narrow Leaf Bitter Pea, shrub
Dianella caerulea, Blue Flax Lily
Dillwynia retorta, shrub
Entolasia sp. Right-angled grass
Eucalyptus piperita Sydney Peppermint, tree
Eucalyptus sp. likely racemosa Scribbly Gum, tree
Eucalyptus sieberi Black or Silvertop Ash, tree
Gompholobium sp., shrub
Grevillea sp., shrub
Hakea dactyloides, shrub/small tree
Hakea salicifolia, shrub/small tree
Hakea sericea Needlebush, tall shrub
Hermarthria uncinata Matgrass (in disturbed regeneration area), grass
Isopogon anemonifolius Drumsticks, shrub
Kunzea ambigua Tick Bush, tall shrub, small tree
Lambertia formosa Mountain Devil, shrub
Leptospermum polygalifolium Tea-tree, small tree
Leptospermum trinervium Flaky-bark Tea-tree, small tree
Leucopogon lanceolatus, shrub
Lycopodium deuterodensum Club moss
Microlaena stipoides Weeping Meadow grass
Patersonia sericea Native Iris
Persoonia levis Broad-leaved Geebung, shrub
Persoonia mollis, shrub
Petrophile pulchella, shrub
Platysace linearifolia, small shrub
Polyscias sambucifolia Elderberry Panax, shrub
Pteridium esculentum Bracken Fern
Stephania japonica Snake Vine
Xanthorrhoea species Grass Tree with brown fruits (capsules)
2. Blue Mountains Riparian Complex
The banks of Lawson Creek feature richer than average soils, due to a high content of deposited alluviums. They support moisture loving plants such as ferns and the small tree species Black Wattle. Banksias, hakeas, acacias and tea-trees are also present, sometimes in dense groves.
Acacia elata Cedar Wattle, tree
Blechnum nudum Fishbone Fern
Callicoma serratifolia Black Wattle, small tree
Cyathea australis Rough Tree Fern
Gahnia sp. Sedge
Homalanthus populifolius Bleeding Heart or Native poplar, small tree
Leptospermum polygalifolium Tea-tree
Pittosporum undulatum, small tree
Todea Barbara King Fern
Viola hederacea Violet
3. Blue Mountains swamps
The sedges, ferns, small trees and shrubs of the Lawson Creek swamps grow in peat soils. This type of soil is rich in decomposed vegetable matter, and maintains a high moisture content.
Swamps play a valuable ecological role, as they are a form of natural dam, storing a large amount of water and releasing it gradually. As a result, the associated streams and waterfalls maintain a regular flow, even during dry periods.
Baumea rubiginosa (likely; no inflorescence available) A slender, bright green sedge.
Acacia ptychoclada Wattle, shrub
Blechnum wattsii, fern
Callistemon citrinus Crimson Bottlebush, tall shrub
Gleichenia dicarpa Coral Fern
Leptospermum juniperinum Prickly Tea-tree medium to tall shrub; damp soils and swamp margins
Leptospermum polygalifolium small tree on swamp margins
Polyscias sambucifolia Elderberry Panax, tall shrub on swamp margins
4. Rainforest (Closed-forest)
The small patches of shady, valley floor rainforest are dominated by the tall trees Coachwood (Ceratopetalum apetalum) and Sassafras (Doryphora sassafras). Cedar Wattle (Acacia elata), Rough Tree Fern (Cyathea australis), King Fern (Todea barbara), and a variety of Blechnum ferns are also present in the South Lawson Park rainforest glades.
(Note: the Commonwealth listed Vulnerable shrub species Persoonia acerosa (Needle Geebung) and the endemic species Acacia ptychoclada, a wattle, have been recorded on the bushcare site.)
An excellent Blue Mountains flora reference book is Native Plants of the Blue Mountains, by Margaret Baker and Robyn Corringham, Three Sisters Publications. Available at local bookshops, the book is very reasonably priced, has great illustrations and lots of information about the natural ecosystems of the Blue Mountains.
Another great way to become familiar with the flora of the Lawson Creek catchment is to view our eight minute film, Bushcare Blue Mountains: South Lawson Park, at https://vimeo.com/verahong/south-lawson-bushcare . Many thanks to Vera and Craig at Seconds Minutes Hours Productions for their wonderful cinematography.
Approximately one hundred indigenous fauna species have been recorded on the bushcare site and at South Lawson Park. The list includes terrestrial species such as birds and marsupials, and also stream (Lawson Creek) and groundwater (Lawson Creek swamp) dwelling species.
The fauna list is comprised of casual observations and formal surveys.
- Casual observations of fauna have been made in the South Lawson Park area for many years, either at bushcare sessions or by local residents. Confirmation criteria are field guides; WIRES; photographs; clear sighting of familiar species; online research; trained keying; confirmation by numerous residents; successive sightings; authority confirmation.
- Two formal fauna surveys (= FS 2018) were conducted on November 9 and November 11 2018, by J Bear and R Pattingale (See: Archives / Fauna survey 2018).
- Macroinvertebrate (stream bugs) sampling results from both BMCC Aquatic Systems Officer testing and also volunteer StreamWatch testing extend back to ca.2005.
- Stygofauna (groundwater fauna) densities were recorded during the Stygofauna Monitoring Project 2011-2013 (See: Archives / Stygofauna Monitoring Project 2011).
Note: * = introduced species.
Australian King-Parrot Alisterus scapularis (FS 2018; 2 x Waratah St feeding on Privet seed March 2020)
Australian Magpie Cracticus tibicen (FS 2018)
Australian Raven juv. Corvus coronoides (reported, no date)
Australian White Ibis Threskiornis molucca (100m north of BMX track in wetland July 2023; frequent paddocks north of Waratah St 2023)
Australian Wood Duck Chenonetta jubata (Ferris Lane October 2019)
Brown Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia amboinensis (Lawson Creek feeding on Homalanthus populifolius fruit March 2020; 16/05/21 Waratah St ecological rerstoration area)
Brown Thornbill Acanthiza pusilla (FS 2018)
Channel-billed Cuckoo Scythrops novaehollandiae (FS 2018)
Crested Pigeon Ocyphaps lophotes (18.09.18 Waratah Street east)
Crimson Rosella Platycercus elegans (frequent; 2017 & 2018, photo, Waratah St east; FS 2018; 2 pairs east Waratah St 19/06/22)
Eastern Blackbird Turdus merula* (FS 2018)
Eastern Koel Eudynamys orientalis (FS 2018)
Eastern Spinebill Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris (FS 2018)
Eastern Whipbird Psophodes olivaceus (frequent; call 2018 Waratah St east; FS 2018; call Waratah St east 19/06/22; sighted Waratah Street east riparian area 08/03/23)
Eastern Yellow Robin Eopsaltria australis (17.06.2018, Waratah St; FS 2018; east Waratah St 19/06/22)
Galah Eolophus roseicapilla (17.09.17, detention basin)
Gang-gang Cockatoo Callocephalon fimbriatum (24/02/20, flock of 10-14, Cataract Falls, Cataract Creek, Lawson)
Golden Whistler Pachycephala pectoralis (FS 2018)
Grey Butcherbird Cracticus torquatus (17.09.17, detention basin; FS 2018)
Grey Fantail Rhipidura albiscapa (17.06.18, M, Waratah St; FS 2018)
Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae (frequent 1995-2018; FS 2018)
Leaden Flycatcher juv. Myiagra rubecula (reported, no date)
Lewin’s Honeyeater Meliphaga lewinii (FS 2018)
Little Wattlebird Anthochaera chrysoptera (FS 2018)
Magpie-lark, ‘Peewee’ Grallina cyanoleuca (FS 2018) Nest constructed from mud, grass and Peewee saliva.
Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles (FS 2018; pair Waratah St November 2023)
Mistletoe Flowerpecker Dicaeum hirundinaceum (reported, no date; FS 2018)
New Holland Honeyeater Phylidonyris novaehollandiae (FS 2018)
Pied Currawong Strepera graculina (frequent; FS 2018)
Powerful Owl Ninox strenua (Night call recorded in Honour Ave Lawson, J Bear, mid-September 2019)
Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus (FS 2018)
Red-tailed Black Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus banksii (authority sighting Adelina Falls April 2019)
Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus* (frequent 1995-2015; FS 2018)
Red Wattlebird Anthochaera carunculata (frequent, east Waratah St 1995-2018; FS 2018)
Satin Bowerbird Ptilonorhynchus violaceus (frequent, bower at east Waratah St 1990s; FS 2018; immature male or female east Waratah St 19/06/22)
Silvereye Zosterops lateralis (FS 2018)
Southern Boobook Ninox novaeseelandiae (not seen, heard 1990s Waratah St east)
Spotted Pardalote Pardalotus punctatus (FS 2018)
Striated Thornbill Acanthiza lineata (FS 2018)
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita (FS 2018)
Superb Fairy-wren Malurus cyaneus (FS 2018)
Superb Lyrebird Menura novaehollandiae (1981; approx 2000; 2015 Waratah St east)
Tawny Frogmouth Podargus strigoides (2000, pair, Livingstone/Honour ave carpark)
Wedge-tailed Eagle Aquila audax (30/11/2021 over Lawson Parklands)
White-browed Scrubwren Sericornis frontalis (16/05/21swamp edge Waratah St ecological restoration area; east Waratah Street riparian area 08/03/23)
White-faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae) (14/10/2023 paddocks north of Waratah St)
White-throated Treecreeper Cormobates leucophaea (FS 2018)
Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus funereus (2 x Cataract Creek July 2018 photo; probable trace east Waratah Street 16.09.18; 4 birds x Lawson oval/Lawson Creek feeding on Hakea sp. 20/10/19; 6 including juveniles settling on Hakea sp. in west Waratah Street ecological restoration site 15/05/22)
Yellow-faced Treecreeper Caligasvis chrysop (FS 2018)
Supplied by Carol Probets 20/02/17. Sighted at Bellevue Park, Lawson. Nine species of butteflies:
Candalides hyacinthina Varied Dusky-blue
Delias sp. Jezebel sp.
Dispar compacta Barred Skipper
Grass-dart species probably Ocybadistes walkeri Greenish Grass-dart
Hesperilla idothea Flame Sedge-skipper
Netrocoryne repanda; Bronze Flat
Tissiphone abeona Varied Sword-grass Brown
Toxida peron Dingy Grass-skipper
Vanessa itea Yellow Admiral
Chauliognathus lugubris Plague Soldier Beetles (August 2014 photo)
Lawson Creek macroinvertebrates (Insects)
Hemiptera, Bugs (13.10.17 keyed, mid-Lawson Creek)
Emphemeroptera, Mayfly nymphs (13.10.17 keyed, mid-Lawson Creek)
Suborder: Epiprocta, Dragonfly nymphs (13.10.17, keyed, mid-Lawson Creek)
Suborder: Zygoptera, Damselfly nymphs (13.10.17, keyed, mid-Lawson Creek)
Lawson Creek Swamp stygofauna / Fresh groundwater fauna
Stygofauna Monitoring Project 2010 -2011 (See: a. Archives / Stygofauna Monitoring Project Report 2011: Extract; b. Streamwatch)
Ostracods (Crustaceans) 469 qty.
Syncarids (Crustaceans) 53
Oligochaetes (Worms) 373
Cyclopiod copepods (Crustaceans) 134
Harpacticoid copepods (Crustaceans) 14
Nematodes (Roundworms) 646
Euastacus sp.; Crayfish (2016, mid-Lawson Creek, P, photo; 20/02/2023 upper Lawson Creek tributary – large specimen; upper Lawson Creek tributary juvenile specimens 03/03/23). Threatened by poor water quality and fox predation.
Crinia signifera Common Eastern Froglet (frequent, heard Lawson mid-swamp, 2009-2018; FS 2018). (North Lawson swamp, 2016, photo).
A green frog probably Litoria phyllochroa Leaf-green Tree Frog (seen 1988 Waratah St east)
Limnodynastes peronii Striped Marsh Frog (frequent; heard upper Lawson Creek 16/09/18; FS 2018)
Litoria verreauxii Verreaux’s Frog (FS 2018)
Uperoleia laevigata Smooth Toadlet (FS 2018)
Snails, slugs (Molluscs)
Arion ater* European Black Slug (centre Waratah St 2016)
Limax maximus* Leopard Slug (FS 2018)
Spider 4 x sp. unknown (FS 2018)
Antechinus sp. Antechinus sp. (traces/specimens Waratah St, August 2018)
Perameles sp. Probably Perameles nasuta Long-nosed bandicoot (1995 seen, firm; traces 2018, Waratah St east, firm; 2020-23 western ecological restoration area #1 likely traces frequent)
Petaurus breviceps Sugar Glider (trace Waratah Street east, July 2018; seen FS 2018; approx. 28/03/22 Ferris Lane, report by resident: folded skin between the front and hind legs and saw it leap between trees)
Pseudocheirus peregrinus Common Ringtail Possum (April 2016 photo, Waratah St west; FS 2018)
Trichosurus vulpecula Common Brushtail Possum (July 2018 Waratah St east; FS 2018)
Wallabia bicolor Swamp Wallaby (scats detention basin 2017; resident sighting, former golf course 2017; scats Waratah St, August 2018, June 2019, March 2020; scats Lawson swamp at parklands April 2023)
Mammals: Megabats- Flying Foxes
Pteropus poliocephalus Grey-headed Flying Fox (observed Honour Ave 2015)
Mammals: Microbats – True Bats
Microbat sp. x 1 unknown (FS 2018)
Chelodina sp. likely longicollis Eastern Long-necked Turtle. (Lawson Creek approx 2000; Lawson swimming pool Dec 2021; February 2022 with nests Lawson Creek Dr R Spencer media report Blue Mountains Gazette https://www.bluemountainsgazette.com.au/story/7601592/shell-shock-at-lawson-dog-park/)
Eulamprus sp. possibly Eulamprus quoyii Eastern Water Skink (Lawson Creek tributary swamp/Waratah Street, 19/12/2021, approx 25cm full length)
Lampropholis delicata Dark-flecked Garden Sunskink (FS 2018)
Lampropholis guichenoti Common Garden Skink (frequently Waratah St east)
Morelia spilota Diamond Python (2008 Waratah St east)
Notechis scutatis Tiger Snake (2008 Waratah St east)
Pseudechis porphyriacus Red-bellied Black Snake (June 2013 detention basin; frequent 1984-present, Waratah St east)
Pseudonaja textilis Eastern Brown Snake (1984-2012, Waratah St east)
Rankinia diemensis Mountain Dragon (2023 November Parkland regeneration site)
Tiliqua scincoides Eastern Blue-tongue Lizard (approx 2000 photo, Waratah St east; Parklands regeneration site April 2023)
The purpose of bushcare is to contribute to the healthy functioning and preservation of the local, naturally evolved ecosystems, and their plants. For the purposes of bushcare, a weed is a plant species that thas been introduced to these local ecosystems.
Introduced plant species have potential to grow and spread so vigorously that they overwhelm and replace locally evolved plants and their ecosystems. Why might this occur? The natural ecological conditions that operate in an introduced plant species’ ecosystem of origin, for example certain insects or levels of rainfall, regulate the growth of the species in that ecosystem. Under the different ecological conditions that prevail in local ecosystems, for example higher levels of rainfall, the plants of an introduced species can become a problem.
A weed can be an overseas plant species, or even an introduced Australian indigenous species. Australian plant species introduced to other countries have overwhelmed the local ecosytems of those countries.
Severe weeds may be declared a “Priority Weed” or a “Weed of Regional Concern” under the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015. Public authorities and private landowners are required to manage this type of particularly damaging weed in a specified way.
Here is a list of the most prevalent and threatening weeds of the South Lawson bushcare site. Over time, all of these plants tend to dominate, and then displace, the local indigenous plant species. As a result, local indigenous animal species may lose habitat and be detrimentally affected.
- Arum lily, usually found in swamps
- Blackberry, growing in swamps and modified bushland
- Broom, a shrub or small tree found in forests and modified bushland
- Creeping Buttercup, a spreading herb found in damp situations
- English Ivy, a smothering climber
- Gorse, a highly invasive shrub (two plants 2017), located in modified bushland
- Grasses such as Panic Veldt Grass (Ehrharta erecta), Yorkshire Fog, Sweet Vernal-grass and Pigeon Grass are present.
- Japanese Honeysuckle, a vigorous climber
- Juncus microcephalus, a perennial sedge found in damp situations
- Montbretia, a herb that colonises stream banks and damp areas
- Privet (both small and large leaved varieties), common in modified bushland & forest
- Pussy Willow grows in damp areas.
- Smaller quantities of Cootamundra Wattle, Himalayan Honeysuckle, Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii), and Turkey Rhubarb are present, with varying degrees of control having been achieved.
See https://weedsbluemountains.org.au for detailed photographs of Blue Mountains weeds and how to treat them.
Best of all, visit one of the two local provenance native nurseries in the Blue Mountains and buy their plants. They are Wild Plant Rescue, Katoomba, and the Conservation Society Plant Nursery.
(Australian Copyright Act 1968 applies. Text and photos on this site are subject to copyright. Many thanks to the members of South Lawson Park Bushcare Group, our BMCC Bushcare Officer and Second Minutes Hours Productions for their contributions to this website. The South Lawson Park Bushcare Group website is managed by Peter Ardill)