Photo of the month – The unity of cushion plants, Mount Field National Park

This photo of the month was taken near Newdegate Pass in Mount Field National Park, which we were lucky to visit while on a recent hiking trip to Tasmania.

Cushion plants occur in alpine areas across the world. Rather than one large plant, they’re a community of tiny shoots tightly packed together to form a mat. In this way they protect one another from the harsh elements, as well as trapping heat and water and supporting arthropods and insects, thereby increasing diversity and providing places for other plants to germinate.

For these reasons, cushion plants are seen as keystone species in alpine regions – colonising disturbed areas and creating an environment where other plants can then gain a foothold in the severe conditions.

The things you can do when you stick together!

Cushion plant community, Mount Field National Park, Tasmania.

Jonathan Tuck