Katandra Bushland Sanctuary

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Allocasuarina and Casuarina trees, all members of the Casuarinaceae family of plants, are commonly called She-oaks

She-oaks are well adapted to hot, dry conditions with their leaves reduced to rings of tiny teeth on specialised, narrow branchlets. They often form a dense grove of trees as fallen branchlets (leaf needles) form a carpet that inhibits the growing of ground-cover. A beautifully haunting sound is produced when wind blows through the foliage of these trees.

Those in the Allocasuarina genus are distinguished from those in the Casuarina genus by distinct differences in their cones and fruit.

Male and female flowers appear separately. Male flowers consist of little more than a single stamen set in a dense whorled spike at the end of a branchlet. These male flowers can cause the foliage on the tree to take on a red/rusty appearance. 

                                                     female flowers

                   male flowers giving the foliage a rusty appearance

While there are no Casuarina species growing in Katandra, there are 3 species of Allocasuarina –

  • Allocasuarina distyla (Scrub She-oak)

  • Allocasuarina littoralis (Black She-oak)

  • Allocasuarina torulosa (Forest Oak)

These different species of Allocasuarina can be distinguished by the shape of their cones (see the photo below).

You will often see these cones as you walk around the track in Katandra. Pick them up and try to identify the She-oaks nearby.