DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Section of temperate rainforest in the Dandenong Ranges, Victoria, Australia, showing the layered structure of the forest. Centre, and in the background, are tall canopy trees of Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans), which are not fully grown, but reach to more than 50m. The middle layer is comprised mainly of soft tree fern (Dicksonia antarctica) with occasional small trees such as Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon). At ground level (here, the foreground) there are smaller terrestrial ferns such as bracken (Pteridium esculentum) and herbaceous flowering plants (not visible here). The canopy trees are often close together, but their foliage is at the top of an unbranched trunk, is not dense, and so allows sufficient light to the ground for luxuriant growth of the understorey plants beneath them.
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