Allocasuarina

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Allocasuarina
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Sheoak_cones_medium.jpg.jpg



Allocasuarina verticillata foliage and fruit
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
Division:Magnoliophyta
Class:Magnoliopsida
Order:Fagales
Family:Casuarinaceae
Genus:Allocasuarina
Species

Allocasuarina campestris
Allocasuarina distyla
Allocasuarina duncanii (Duncan's She-oak)
Allocasuarina leuhmannii (Bull-oak)
Allocasuarina littoralis (Black She-oak)
Allocasuarina mackliniana (Dwarf She-oak)
Allocasuarina muelleriana (Slaty She-oak)
Allocasuarina palludosa (Scrub she-oak)
Allocasuarina striata (Small Bull-oak)
Allocasuarina strictum (Vanilla Lily She-oak)
Allocasuarina torulosa (Forest She-oak)
Allocasuarina verticillata (Drooping She-oak)

Allocasuarina is a genus in the flowering plant family Casuarinaceae, found primarily in southern Australia. Commonly called sheoaks or she-oaks, they are notable for their long, wiry foliage, the slender green shoots somewhat resembling pine needles - although sheoaks are actually flowering plants. The leaves are reduced to minute scales, arranged spirally along the shoots. These shoots form a dense, soft mat beneath sheoaks, preventing the development of undergrowth and making sheoak woods remarkably quiet.

Another characteristic feature are the spiny "cones", about the size of an acorn but with a texture more resembling a conifer cone. However, sheoak "cones" are actually a woody fruit.

As with legumes, sheoak roots possess nodules containing symbiotic nitrogen fixing bacteria; together with their highly drought adapted foliage, this enables sheoaks to thrive in very poor soil and semi-arid areas. However, sheoaks are much less bushfire tolerant than eucalypts.

Fossils of closely related species have been found dating back to the time of Gondwana.

Uses

The hard wood and rich texture makes sheoak wood popular among wood-turners. Sheoak wood is also regarded as an excellent firewood as it burns with very little ash.

Because of its ability to grow and develop extensive root systems in very poor or sandy soils, and to completely cover the ground with its "needles", it is often used to stabilise soils in erosion prone areas, or on sand dunes. Sheoak is also used as an ornamental shrub, although for this purpose the mat of "needles" may become a nuisance and must be carefully considered.

See also

Casuarina

External link

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