The Daintree Rainforest is one of Australia’s most beautiful natural wonders. Here, colourful bird species swoop below lush, velvet canopies, while native creatures rustle about in the undergrowth. It really is a nature-lover’s dream.
And if you’re a keen gardener, you’re going to love the sheer volume of incredible flora that resides in the forest.
In fact, the diversity, intricacy, and age of the plants found in the Daintree Rainforest is much larger than any other ecosystem in the entire country. Taking it further, it’s home to the largest concentration of rare and endangered flora anywhere in the world.
Flowering plants are in abundance here, where there are 12 of the 19 primitive plant families in the world, as well as 28 of Australia’s 36 mangrove species – a heady collection of flowers large, small, beautiful, and dangerous.
This primitive flowering plant was only discovered in 1970, but it boasts a unique little history that has made it a fascinating find.
It began with four cows and a local farmer called John Nicholas, who worked for the Daintree Tea Company. The cows were found dead in the paddock, and it was learned that they died from chewing large seeds which were found in their stomachs during an autopsy. It turns out that the seeds produced a poison not unlike strychnine, and they were what caused the cows’ deaths – seeds that were from the Idiot Fruit.
These giant plants are an important part of the Daintree’s canopy. They shade the smaller plants from the sun and grow a blue fruit that expands to about 3cm in diameter when ripe.
Ginger plants can be dangerous, with many of the family containing poison. However, this type of ginger reaches six metres high and is often used by hikers to supplement their water. When chopped near ground level, the stem releases water, which is perfect for a rejuvenating drink.
For something a little more dangerous, there’s the wait-a-while vine. Consisting of thin strands of vine that are smattered with small spikes, these plants can get caught on clothing, rip skin, and tear fabric that they come into contact with. Mostly, you’ll find them hanging from tall trees, floating down to the ground in thick clumps.
There are plenty of other plant species that call the Daintree Rainforest home, and a simple hike will open your eyes to all the beautiful varieties.