Kakadu National Park

Wednesday 17 July 2019

Kakadu’s elegant paperbark forests are one of the park’s most recognisable features.

There are three main species of paperbark in Kakadu: the silver-leafed paperbark, broad-leafed paperbark and weeping paperbark.

These trees fringe Kakadu’s floodplains, swamps and other waterways. They offer nesting sites for birds such as black-necked storks, white-bellied sea-eagles, whistling kites, green pygmy geese, brush cuckoos and flycatchers. Honeyeaters and lorikeets feed on the nectar, while forest kingfishers and blue-winged kookaburras can often be seen darting through paperbark forests.

Paperbark forests also provide a haven for agile wallabies, who have to leave the safety of the trees to drink and graze at the water’s edge.

Culture

Bininj/Mungguy use the bark of the tree for bedding, bandages, shelter, rafts, containers and more.

The leaves add flavour to cooking, and a traditional ground oven will often include layers of paperbark leaves.

Other names

  • Scientific names: Melaleuca argentea (silver-leafed paperbark), Melaleuca viridiflora (broad-leafed paperbark), Melaleuca leucadendra (weeping paperbark).