Australian Native Trees

Learn to identify Australian native trees. Study online from home, or out in the bush with your notes in hand! Learn to propogate trees and about planting, feeding, soils, pests and diseases.

Course CodeVHT115
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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Become an expert on Australian Native Trees by enrolling now.

  • Learn to select the right tree for the right location saving you money
  • Learn to propagate your own trees and save more money
  • Essential for any arboriculturalist, regenerators, horticulturalist and those with a general interest.
  • Study from home: saving you hassle, time and money

Learn about different types of Australian flora, plant identification, information sources, planting, feeding, soils, pests & diseases, watering, propagation and transplanting, selected varieties of trees, windbreak planting, agroforestry, tree maintenance and tree selection.

8 Lessons each with a set task and 8 assignments.

Knowing about trees is vital for any Horticultural career. Get to know them and you will understand what to plant where even better, and in a way that is harmonious to the natural landscape of Australia.

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Review of the system of plant identification
    • Genus, Species
    • Monocotyledons and Dicotyledons
    • Characteristics of main Australian Plant Families
    • General characteristics of native trees
    • Information contacts (ie: nurseries, seed, clubs, etc.)
    • History of nomenclature
    • International Code
    • Ranks of Taxa
    • Principle of priority
    • Selection and spelling of plant names
    • Changing names
    • Hybrids
  2. Culture
    • Planting Procedure
    • Planting on slopes
    • Fertilizer
    • Time of planting
    • Staking
    • Mulching
    • Pruning native trees
    • Steps in removing a branch from a tree
    • Soils (Physical, chemical, biological structure)
    • Soil profile
    • Improving soil profile
    • Colloids
    • Water and air
    • Soil temperature
    • Soil life
    • Soil Problems (Loss of soil fertility, Erosion, Salinity, Soil compaction, Soil acidification, Build up of dangerous chemicals)
    • Improving soils (soil additives etc)
    • Limestone Underlay Technique
    • Fertilisers
    • Fertilising established trees
    • Plant Nutrition
    • Water Problems
    • Drainage
  3. Propagation
    • Choosing the right propagating technique
    • Seed
    • Seed sources
    • Hybrid seed production
    • Storing seed
    • Difficult seeds
    • Dormancy facftors
    • Maintaining genetic identity
    • Propagating Media
    • Propagating Eucalypts
    • Propagating Acacias
    • Cuttings
    • Improving curtting success rates
    • Grafting
    • Top graft
    • Whip & Tongue graft
    • Irrigated graft
    • Grafting selected plants ... Eucalypts, Grevilleas, Banksias, Hakeas
    • After care of seed and cuttings
    • Transplanting (seedlings, cuttings)
    • Potting up plants and Growing on
  4. Most Commonly Grown Varieties
    • Review dozens of relevant genera
    • Allocasuarina
    • Casuarina
    • Melia
    • Pittosporum
    • Acacia
  5. More About Important Groups
    • Eucalyptus
    • Banksia
    • Brachychiton
    • Grevillea
    • Diagnosing Tree Problems
    • Tree Surgery Techniques
  6. Other Varieties
    • Rainforest Trees
    • Constructing a Rainforest
    • Acmena
    • Eugenia
    • Mallotus
    • Melicope (Euodia)
    • Neolitsia
    • Nothofagus
    • Schefflera
    • Stenocarpus
    • Syzygium
    • Aracaria
    • Agathis
    • Actinostrobus
    • Callitris
    • Podocarpus
    • Adansonia
    • Agonis
    • Albizzia
    • Alstonia
    • Alphotinia
    • Angophora
    • Barklya
    • Buckinghamia
    • Castenospermum
    • Elaeocarpus
    • Ficus
    • Macadamia
    • Melia
    • Nuytsia
    • Tristania/Lophostemon
  7. Making The Best Use of Native Plants
    • Why plant trees in the Landscape
    • Problems with trees
    • Biological controls
    • Parasitism
    • Symbiosis
    • Planting Techniques (Pocket planting, slope serrration, Wattling, Planting arid sites, Direct seeding, Spray seeding)
    • Edible Australian Tree Crops (Davidsonia, Quandong, Backhousia, Citrus, Acacia, Syzygium, Tasmannia, Kunzea)
    • Australian indigenous timber trees
    • Essential oils
    • Useful Australian Conifers (Actinostrobus, Athrotaxus, Agathis, Araucaria, Callitris, Podocarpus)
    • Australian Indigenous Palms
  8. Special Assignment
    • You select and conduct an in depth study of one plant genus or group (eg. Timber trees, conifers, trees from a particular region)

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Identify Australian Native Trees
  • Describe the culture of Australian Native Trees.
  • Propagate Australian Native Trees
  • Compare characteristics and cultural requirements of different commonly grown species of Australian Native Trees.
  • Compare characteristics and cultural requirements of conifer and rainforest species of Australian Native Trees.
  • Describe a range of uses for Australian native trees.
  • Investigate one type of Australian Native Tree in depth.


Plants are usually given two different types of names:

Common Names. These are English language names usually given to plants by amateur gardeners as a descriptive, easy to remember tag. Many plants have more than one common name, and sometimes the same common name can be given to several quite different plants. Some plants have no common name. Common names are not governed by international conventions, and so can be very inaccurate and unreliable for plant identification. Wherever possible, use the scientific name.        

Scientific Names. Scientific names are usually based on the Latin language. The Latin words often describe some aspect of the plant – for example latifolia refers to the leaves of the plant. Scientific names may seem more complex than common names at first glance. However, they have a system to them which can make plant identification much easier. The system of scientific naming is strictly controlled and coordinated by botanists throughout the world. Scientific names should always be used in preference to common names.

For example:

Corymbia ficifolia is commonly known as the Red Flowering Gum

Eucalyptus ptychocarpa is also commonly known as the Red Flowering Gum

There are many species that have the same common name and this can cause confusion when trying to correctly identify a plant. That is the main reason why scientific names are always preferable to common names - that way you know exactly which plant you are referring to or looking at.

In the scientific system, plants are classified by dividing them into groups which have similar characteristics. These groups are then divided into smaller groups with similar characteristics. These are divided again and so the division of group to sub group and sub group to further sub groups goes on....until you finally have only one type of plant in each group.

The main levels of division are as follows:‑ The entire plant kingdom is divided up into PHYLA Phyla are divided into DIVISIONS Division is divided into CLASSES Classes are divided into ORDERS Orders are divided into FAMILIES Families are divided into GENERA (singular: Genus) Genera are divided into SPECIES Species are sometimes divided into SUBSPECIES and VARIETIES.

The scientific plant names which you see in books or on plant labels in a nursery will usually consist of two words:

The first word is the 'genus' name of the plant. The genus name should always start with a capital letter, and the rest of the word is lower case letters.   

The second word is the species name of the plant. Generally the entire species name is in lower case letters.

Both the genus and species name should be italicized or underlined. For example:

Macrophylla excelsa

Macrophylla excelsa


The main plant phylla we are concerned about in horticulture are:

  1. Anthophyta (commonly referred to as angiosperms) This group inlcudes all of the plants that produce flowers e.g. Eucalypts, roses, lettuces, grasses and so on. The vast majority of plants in the world are angiosperms.
  2. Coniferophyta (these are the conifers) and includes all plants that produce cones e.g. pines, cypresses etc.
  3. Pterophyta (commonly referred to as the ferns) - this group includes ferns and fern allies.

Other phylla include things such as mosses, fungi bacteria and algae.





  • If you are passionate about Australian native trees and want to learn more - this course will certainly fulfil that goal.
  • If you work in rehabilitaion of sites - this course will help you to pinpoint and grow the correct species for the area.
  • If you want to work in national parks and gardens - this course will give you the knowledge and skills needed to identify and undertand the basic care of Australian native trees.
  • If you want to work in or set up an Australian native tree nursery - this course will give you the skills and knowledge need to mark a start.


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