This open sandy country is called the ‘kwongan'. The kwongan contains over 2600 species of plants, over 70% of the species in southern Western Australia. Many kwongan species have specialised adaptations to grow in the low nutrient soils of this region and have deep root systems to obtain sub-surface moisture and specialised feeder roots in the humus layer. Peas and sheoaks have root nodules that contain bacteria to fix nitrogen.
Most species use fungi to aid nutrient uptake, either inside or surrounding the root sheath. Some plants are carnivorous - the droseras (sundews), or parasitic - quandong and nuytsia trees.
Most plants have woody fruits to protect against fire, a food attractant to large cockatoos. The magnificent floral display in spring indicates that many plants rely on birds for pollination. A large quantity of large and vibrant coloured flowers are required to satisfy their nectar requirements.
The biggest threat to these plants is the spread of dieback, a soil borne fungus that prevents the uptake of nutrients and moisture.