Revegetation and Bushcare projects along the GreenWay aim to bring back some of the vegetation that existed in the inner west of Sydney prior to European settlement.
The GreenWay essentially runs through the urban landscape of the inner western suburbs of Sydney and contains small pockets of remnant native vegetation. Many of the remnant vegetation areas are very small, degraded and infested with noxious and environmental weeds however within the context of a highly urbanised environment this vegetation has potential for enhancement and expansion to improve habitat for urban biodiversity.
The plants of the GreenWay, both native and exotic, also provide food and shelter for a number of native animal species, including mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs, and insects such as butterflies.
For a comprehensive review of the flora of the GreenWay, download the GreenWay Flora and Fauna Literature Review [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 1.06 MB] or the GreenWay Species List for a list of plants native to the GreenWay and the Cooks River Valley.
Prior to European settlement, much of the landscape of inner-western Sydney was vegetated with Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest. This forest community originally extended over 26,000 ha of Sydney. Less than 0.5% of Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest remains today, and it is now listed as a Threatened Ecological Community under state legislation.
Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest consists of an open tree canopy of a variety of eucalypts, and a groundcover of mostly native grasses and herbs, sometimes with layers of shrubs and/or small trees. Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest typically occurs on areas with clay soils derived from Wianamatta Shale, or shale layers within Hawkesbury Sandstone.
You can find a list of the plant species that make up Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest at the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water Website.
Within the GreenWay catchment, Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest once extended southwards to approximately where Dulwich Hill Primary School stands today. South of there, and along the Cooks River, the poorer, sandier soils supported a different suite of plants, including trees such as eucalypts and the Sydney Red Gum, a wide variety of shrubs and groundcovers.
Along the creeklines, including the present day Hawthorne Canal, plants that could tolerate waterlogged and saline soils including saltmarsh species would have existed, Some small remnants of Sydney Coastal Saltmarsh, which is also listed as an Endangered Ecological Community, can still be found along the Cooks River. More information is available on the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water Website.
Residents of the GreenWay catchment are encouraged to plant local native species in their gardens.
Further information about the plants of the Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest can be found in "Missing Jigsaw Pieces" by Doug Benson, Danie Ondinea and Virginia Bear published by Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney 1999.