891 species of native plants and 46 endemic species found only on Kangaroo Island.
This Island's plant catalogue lists 891 species, as well as approximately 250 that have been introduced from other parts of the world. There are wildflowers to be found in every season, and September and October reveal spectacular flowering of much of the flora.
Over 400 of the plants are found in Flinders Chase National Park, making it the most representative area of original flora. Mallee scrub dominates much of the uncleared areas. In the east, Kangaroo Island Narrow-Leaf Mallee is the main multi-trunked mallee, and it is from this tree that eucalyptus oil is extracted. The much taller single-trunk eucalypts such as Sugar Gum, Blue Gum, Cup Gum, Swamp Gum and River Red Gum generally grow along rivers and creek banks. Two stringybark species are found in the centre to the northwest of the Island.
The number and variety of wattles match the diversity of the eucalypts. Other small trees or large shrubs include the Drooping Sheoak, two Banksia species, Dryland Tea-tree, Broombush, Scarlet Bottlebrush, several Hakea and the slow-growing Tate's Grass tree. Because of its isolation from the mainland, Kangaroo Island has 46 endemic species; these are plants that are native to, and restricted to, a particular geographical region. Some of these, like the two Tetrathecas, are very beautiful; others, like the prickly Kangaroo Island Conestick, are more remarkable for their uniqueness than their beauty. One Hakea (Hakea aenigma), does not put on seed in the normal way, but reproduces itself by suckering.
Spring is the best time to see the Golden Wattle (Australia's floral emblem); many species of wattle provide a mass of vivid yellow from Penneshaw to Cape Borda and many places in between. Other flowering plants, which bring a splash of colour to the bush, include Scarlet Bottlebrush, orange and red Cockies Tongue, purple Fringe-lily, green and red Correa, Azure Daisy bush and many others. The different varieties of scented white bearded heaths, white and yellow graceful Riceflower, green-orange, lovely pink and red Grevilleas and Spyridiums enhance the beauty of the understorey.
There are also more than 80 different species of orchid found on the Island. All of them are terrestrial and they range in height from 1-100cms.