Point of Interest 17: Jarrah Coppices

Woodland here is dominated by Jarrah trees growing in coppice rings or as scattered trees on both side of the trail. This area has a relatively dense canopy, diverse understorey plants and relatively few weeds. Impressive wildflowers can be found in winter, spring and summer. Planting occurred near the school fence in 2023.

Winter – Swan River Myrtle, Yellow Buttercups (Hibbertia hypericoides), Prickly Moses (Acacia pulchella), Honey Bush (Hakea lissocarpha)

Spring – Pansy Orchid, Blue Sun Orchid (Thelymitra macrophylla), Kangaroo Paws

Late Spring & Early Summer – Purple Flag, Fragrant Waitzia (Waitzia suaveolens)

Focus Topic 35. Timber Harvesting and Coppices

Jarrah coppices are common in this area. They result when a large tree that was harvested many years ago resprouts in a ring around its underground lignotuber. Lignotubers are woody subterranean storage organs found below the trunk or stem of plants that allow them to resprout rapidly after fire of other disturbances (Focus Topic 25). Jarrah coppices form impressive rings of trees, some of which may be stunted due to stronger competition for light and resources. If you look closely, you can often still see remains of the original tree trunk in the middle.

Timber cutting saw pits are also still visible in some parts of Warwick Bushland. These trenches were about 5 m long and 2 m deep but are gradually filling in. They were used to cut large logs into planks with a long hand saw operated from above and below.

Focus Topic 36. Fungi

In late autumn and winter this area is rich with many fungal species including amanitas, boletes, puffballs, bracket fungi, earthstars, truffles, crust fungi, etc. Fungi are a good indicator of the ‘health’ of a bushland due to their many important roles in natural ecosystems, as explained in a video below.

Fungi are either decomposers, mycorrhizal symbionts or parasites. Decomposers break down litter and debris to provide nutrients for plants. Mycorrhizal fungi form a mutually beneficial symbiotic partnership with plants, providing water and nutrients in exchange for food in the form of sugars (see Focus Topic 18). About 80% of the plants in the bushland have these beneficial fungi in their root systems. Parasitic fungi, which are usually microscopic, feed on various hosts (plants, animals and other fungi) such as the smut fungi that form galls on Orange Wattle (Acacia saligna). The presence of different types of fungal fruit bodies reveals how energy and nutrients flow in ecosystems, either directly between mycorrhizal plants and fungi or indirectly from plants to other organisms via decomposition, grazing, pollination, etc.

Volunteers from Fungimap and the Perth Urban Bushland Fungi Project have been studying the fungi here for many years. You can download a list of fungi found here from the Friends Group website. Local fungi are currently being documented using iNaturalist, which also helps to identify fungi, with records found on the Atlas of Living Australia.