Finke Gorge National Park

Finke Gorge NP | Boggy Hole | Palm Valley | Fauna | Flora

Accessible all year round, except when the Finke River is in flood, the Finke Gorge, Boggy Hole and Palm Valley is home to a great range of native plants that can be found in the region. Among these plants are the Native Fig (Ficus platypoda) an important plant source for wildlife, as well as an important bush food.

The Native Fig: A Rainforest Tree
The large shrubs here is a Native Fig. Figs are usually a tree of the tropics, but this species has adapted to dry conditions to survive in the ranges of central Australia. It is restricted to gorges and other sheltered areas.

Figs in central Australia act as the home of up to 14 species of land snails, an animal not commonly seen in the desert. Although Native Figs survive fires and regrow from existing roots, snails are killed by fire and may take hundreds of years to recolonise a burnt fig, even from nearby figs.

The broad, evergreen leaves of the fig have a skin which is glossy on one side, to reflect the sun’s heat, and thick, to cut down water loss by evaporation.

The roots of figs can penetrate half a kilometre into rock crevices in search of moisture! Look for their roots growing out of rocky cliffs.

The fig is an important Aboriginal plant food. Large amounts of ripe red fruit can be collected from one tree. Early European settlers sometimes used the fruit to make jam.

Source: Finke Gorge National Park signage

The Finke Gorge National Park includes part of the Finke River system. As you travel along the usually dry river bed, you can see evidence of pass torrents having carved its way through the land, often taking debris that get caught up and trapped at the base of many of the surviving River Red Gum and other eucalypts.

Keep your eyes open for the Native Fig, also known as the Desert Fig, growing along the escarpment, and even at the base of the escarpment.

  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Class: Equisetopsida
  • Subclass: Manoliidae
  • Superorder: Rosanae
  • Order: Rosales
  • Family: Moraceae
  • Order: Rosales
  • Family: Moraceae
  • Genus: Ficus
  • Species: F. platypoda
  • Binomial name: Ficus platypoda