Since there are three bioregions in the Werribee River catchment, then it must be expected that there will be many hundreds of species of flora. For example, 430 species live in the Brisbane Ranges1. This web page cannot do justice to the range, beauty and usefulness of all of those plants. The reader must seek other references for greater detail.
It is important to say however that the plants which grow in the Werribee River catchment play an important role in the life of the river. Whether it is for other plants or various fauna, each plant has a part to play.
The herbs, ground covers and grasses all protect the ground from erosion from wind and rain. Grasses, sedges, rushes small bushes and shrubs provide cover and food for a range of insects and animals. Larger shrubs and trees provide wind breaks, food, foliage for habitat and shelter. All plants provide food, shelter and habitat for insects, reptiles, animals and birds.
It is fair to say that community knowledge of the plants of the Werribee Catchment was not of a very high standard until the 1990s, when urban development began to encroach on the area. This development brought many people into the catchment for the first time and interest in the indigenous species grew. Excellent publications such as “Flora of Melbourne” SGAP Maroondah 19912, and “Plants of Melbourne’s Western Plains” SGAP Keilor 19953 were amongst the first to promote the values and worth of indigenous plants. Both books offer excellent descriptions of natural history and detail about various species.
Some descriptions of a few species of shrubs and trees on the Werribee River itself, are given in Melbourne Water’s booklet, “Know Your River – Werribee River”.
However some outstanding places exist in which flora survives in very good condition. The Wombat Forest, the Brisbane Ranges, and a number of small protected places such as Truganina Cemetery provide great viewing of wildflowers and unique species. Local groups in those areas can provide much information and advice.
Local government can provide lists of species, and a number of indigenous nurseries can provide plants to grow at home.
1 Trigg, C & M “Wildflowers of the Brisbane Ranges” CSIRO 2000
2“Flora of Melbourne” SGAP Maroondah 1991
3“Plants of Melbourne’s Western Plains” SGAP Keilor 1995