Australia's tropical savannas are home to a
diverse range of plants including cycads. Pictured is Cycas
armstrongii from the genus Cycas.
The tropical savannas can impress with their sheer scale with
mile after mile of uninterrupted grasslands or woodlands. But if
you stop to look more closely you will see diversity in the midst
of this enormity. A roadside patch of woodland may contain a dozen
different types of trees, various mid-storey shrubs, and a range of
grasses. All these plants have adapted to the distinctive
environment of Australia’s tropical savannas.
For example, in most parts of the savanna plants have to be able
to survive a long dry season with months of very little rainfall as
a consequence savanna plants are usually very good at conserving
moisture and many have become “deciduous” in that they
shed their leaves during the dry season.
Many savanna plants are adapted to regular fire:
alight is Pandanus spiralis
Photo: Jean-Charles Perquin
Most savanna plants also have to withstand regular bushfire and
there is emerging evidence that the plants of northern Australia
have been evolving in a fire-prone landscape for millions of
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