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Whereas the valley floor is a farmland mosaic of introduced pasture species, shelter belts and exotic ornamentals, the upland and alpine areas of the Strath Taieri are rich in native shrubs, herbs and cushion plants. Generally, the native component increases with altitude. On or near the Rock and Pillar summit (1,450 m), the plant life is dominated by native tundra species, including Celmisia daisies, carrot-related Anisotome and ground-hugging cushionfield plants such as Raoulia and Phyllachne.

Narrow-leaved snow tussocks are prevalent all the way up the range to the gravelly fellfield areas. On the upper flanks of the Rock and Pillar are patches of shrubland comprising various Hebe species, bog pine, cottonwood and snow totara.

An unusual assemblage of plants occurs at the saline edges of Sutton Salt Lake, 250 metres above sea level. More commonly found near the ocean coast 45 km away, the salt-tolerant creeping herbs around the lake include the native celery Apium and a native fathen species.

–Neville Peat