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Casuarinaceae: She-oaks

This family once contained 50 species in only 1 genus, Causaurina (Carr) but has recently been split into 3-4 genera and containts around 70 species. Its members have very reduced flowers and thus have often been considered a basal group of plants. Today scientists do not place this family so, simply because of its reduced flowers. One common plant is Causaurina equisetifolia which is native to Australia. Its often called the she-oak or ironwood tree. In many areas where its not native (Hawaii for example), it lines the beaches and invades the dry forest slopes.


Systematics:The plant has male and female flowers. The males are born on the end in catkins. The have 1 stamen, a bract and 2 bracteoles. The female flowers have one pistil, and are all tightly packed onto one capitate inflorescence surrounded by a bract and a pair of lateral bracteoles that eventually become woody. The leaves are actually almost microscopic extensions that originate from the nodes of the lateral stems (the parts that look like needle-leaves).


She-oaks (Casuarina spp)

Australian pines, or she-oaks are foundin Australia and the Pacific Islands. They have fruits and leaves that make it look very pine-like. It is, however, a flowering plant.


 


Sample Video of Australian Pine (She Oak)

Links to more information:

  • Dr. Carr's UH Botany Web site
 
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