Allocasuarina littoralis    

Black She-oak

Cockatoos love Casuarinas. Hard woody seed cones are crunched loudly apart and debris rained on unsuspecting passers-by as the birds feast on a harvest of seeds in the open-forests.

In the Black She-oak, a 5-15m tall, corky-barked tree, the stalked cone is a 12-10mm long ‘barrel’ with a blunt end.

Angular protruding valves on the cones open to release dark winged seeds. Cones are found on those trees with female flowers. These grow in red tufts within the foliage. Each tiny flower has two thread-like red stigmas.

These trap pollen that is wind-blown from the rusty male flowers which cluster at the end of branchlets, sometimes on a different tree, often on the same. Interest- ingly the branchlets, or cladodes, are photosynthetic as the leaves are reduced to regularly spaced rings of 6–8 tiny teeth.

Family: Casuarinaceae
 

Kids Activity Trail

  • Have a look at the foliage of this plant and you will see its leaves are regularly spaced rings of 6-8 tiny teeth
  • Did you know cockatoos love this seed? Ring tail possums often build dreys (nests) in the upper branches of tree species. The plant also produces copious pollen which is harvested by native bees

Image Credit: DORIS RAINSFORD Allocasuarina littoralis (She Oak) 2000, carved sandstone, 75 x 125 x 160 cm, Wentworth Falls Lake Sculpture Project, Blue Mountains City Art Collection