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Casuarina equisetifolia

Pronunciation: Kazh-yoo-ar-eye-nuh ek-wih-set-ih-fol-ee-uh
Family: Casuarinaceae (casuarina family)
Common Name: Australian pine, horsetail casuarina, she-oak, horsetail tree, beefwood, polynesian ironwood
Plant Type:
  • trees, shrubs
Height to: 100-150'
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
  • 40 to 30ºF ZONE 10
  • 50 to 40ºF ZONE 11
Sun Exposure:
  • full sun
Bloom Description: The male flowers are borne in slender cylindrical spikes at the twig tips. The tiny brownish red female flowers grow in heads attached to the branchlets and are followed by 0. 5 in (1. 3 cm) diameter fruits that resemble pinecones and contain 70-90 winged seeds each. Australian pine produces minor quantities of fruit constantly, but it usually goes through two major blooming and fruiting cycles each year.
Plant Perks:
  • Medicinal
  • Drought Tolerant
Propagation: Trees begin producing seed when they are only 3-5 years old. Mature specimens yield prodigious quantities of seed, of which 30-80 percent can be expected to germinate 4-8 days after planting. Seeds usually remain viable for only a few months, though they may survive up to two years under ideal conditions. The winged seeds are usually wind dispersed, but the "cones" float and can be transported by water.
Native to: Australian pine is native from southeast asia to northern australia and the pacific, but it has been planted and has naturalized on beaches, berms, and similar open coastal sites in tropical areas throughout the world. In its native region, australian pine occurs in habitats ranging from subtropical thorn scrubland to wet forest. The trees grow best in slightly uneven topography where holes and swales hold rainwater reserves. Recently disturbed places like cleared vacant lots and filled wetlands are ideal.
Notes for Identification: Source: floridata - australian pine is extremely salt resistant and is often used as a windbreak or barrier or to provide beachfront shade or privacy. It may also be trimmed into a hedge or dwarfed in the greenhouse as a bonsai tree. The trees are widely cultivated for erosion control and soil nitrification. The pulp has been used to make paper. The wood is so exceptionally hard, strong, and heavy that it often bends sawblades and nails. It is durable in saltwater, but it is very susceptible to drywood termites, rots easily, and resists wood preservatives. It is brittle and prone to crack, split and shrink. It is nevertheless used for fenceposts, poles, beams, pilings, and the like. Australian pine makes an outstanding fuelwood and is recommended for biomass energy plantations. The wood has been used for powering locomotives and firing brick kilns. Care: australian pine prefers sandy soils, but saline, calcareous, rocky, volcanic, granitic, or just plain poor soils are all okay. The ph can be anywhere between 5. 0 and 7. 7. Since this species forms symbiotic nitrogen-fixing associations with soil microbes, it can grow on nearly sterile sands, though it does appreciate fertilizer. It even seems tolerant of some types of soil pollution, occurring around cement plants and on tin mine tailings. The trees respond well to pruning and can be shaped into a hedge. Grafting is also feasible and it is possible that grafting non-seeding species of casuarina onto the non-suckering c. Equisetifolia rootstock might yield an acceptable non-invasive plant for salt barrier hedges. Australian pine is very sensitive to fire, and may be killed by even a light burn. Young trees have trouble competing with grasses, but they have been reported to survive in the company of cogongrass (imperata cylindrica), which is one of the world's most aggressive weeds. Young trees need deep watering during dry spells. Established specimens are drought tolerant but will shed branchlets when stressed from lack of water. They don't mind soggy soils and wet feet, but resent prolonged flooding. Warningthis is a destructive invasive species! Australian pine is an extremely aggressive and densely rooted species that smothers its struggling competitors under a heavy blanket of needle-like litter. Monocultural stands displace sand-binding native dune and beach vegetation, encouraging coastal erosion, changing soil chemistry, degrading wildlife habitat, and drastically altering coastal environments.
Seed photo: 1
Located in: Seed Photos
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