Allocasuarina acutivalvis   A She-oak Endemic

Allocauarina acutivalvis branches Allocauarina acutivalvis fruit

The Australian endemic genus Allocasuarina is believed to be an ancient one dating back to the Gondwana fusion of continents. The tree itself is a mass of contradictions: the cones aren't cones as it is a flowering plant (Angiosperm) not a Gymosperm. The cones are a woody fruit which is not uncommon in Australian species (e.g. Banksia).

The "needles" aren't needles either. They are are cladodes or modified branches which now contain the chlorophyll needed for photosynthesis. And finally the She-oak isn't even remotely related to Oak trees (Quercus). The early craftsmen settlers recognised that you could imitate the grain of a true oak by cutting the Allocasuarina wood in a certain way - so She-oak probably meant bastard oak in those days.

They can be recognised from the different fruit but since more than one species can grow near each other. Freshly picked fruit would be needed rather than that found on the floor of the bush.

Allocasuarina species grow throughout western Australia particularly in the south.

W.A. Wildflower Society Tour: Macrocarpa Walk, Near Kulin, Western Australia 15th September 2007

Added on 25th February 2008, updated 222nd June 2008, updated 25th Feb 2010, updated 15th March 2013

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