The forests of the Southern Forest region are unique to the South West corner of Western Australia.
The 1.2km Understory walk circuit takes you through a mix of vegetation types, from towering forest to coastal heath.
Most sections of the trail are mixed forest types that include a number of key tree species:
Some of the tree species along the trail include:
Jarrah – Eucalyptus marginata
- The gum of the jarrah tree was used by Noongar people as a mild anaesthetic or was mixed with water to settle an upset stomach.
- The bark of the jarrah tree was also used for creating shelters.
Marri (Red Gum) – Eucalyptus calophylla
The Marri was a prized tree for Noongar people.
- They used the blossoms from the trees as a source of honey, which can be sucked directly from the flower or can be dipped into water to make a sweet drink.
- The Marri was sometimes referred to as the ‘medicine’ tree. The mayat (red sap or gum) which oozes from the tree, contains tannins, which have antiseptic qualities.
Karri – Eucalyptus diversicolour
The towering Karri trees (Eucalyptus diversicolour) are the third tallest species of tree in the world. Beneath their canopy lives a diverse array of plants and animals.
Kondil (Sheoak, Common Sheoak, Western Sheoak) – Allocasuarina fraseriana
A number of sources indicate that Noongar people used Kondil for making kylee (boomerangs)
Yarri (Swan River Blackbutt of Blackbutt) – Eucalyptus patens
Balga (Grass Tree) – Xanthorrea preissii
The balga was an extremely important plant for Noongar people owing to the dietary, medicinal and tool-making properties that it held.
- The resin of the balga could be used for a wide range of purposes including as a glue, for tanning kangaroo (yongka) hides to make bookas and to start fires.
- The bases of the leaves are sweet and nutty, and the heart of the stem was also eaten. Noongar people would chop the top off the tree and scoop out the white pulp within. This pulp is used as a medicine for upset stomachs or eaten as food in times of shortage.
- Nectar was collected from the tall spike of flowers with a sponge made of stringybark.
- At the base of the plant globules of a hard waterproof resin were collected, which served as a cement to fasten barbs in spears or stone axes to handles.
- The tough leaves were used as knives to cut meat.