Allo_gymnanthera.JPG (49625 bytes)Allocasuarina gymnanthera: is a member of the Casuarinaceae (She Oak) family. We tend to think of family members as large trees. This is because Casuarina cunninghamiana, the River Oak, is the most prominent member of the family. The River Oak grows along many water courses in eastern Australia .
In fact most species, of the She Oak family, are medium to tall shrubs.
Allocasuarina gymnanthera is a tall, multi-stemmed shrub. Its common name is the Mallee She Oak because of the multiple stems that grow from the swollen root mass.
The Mallee She Oak has typical fine, pine-like foliage that contrasts with other plants in the bush and garden.
Allocasuarina gymnanthera is dioecious. This means that male and female flowers are carried on different plants. Male flowers are insignificant and carried at the end of each branch. Pollen is very light and carried by the wind. Female flowers develop along each branch. Each flower has multiple stigmas to efficiently catch the wind borne pollen. Female flowers are often red and are an attractive feature.
The pollination mechanism is very efficient as most female flowers form distinctive rectangular woody cones. Each cone contains a number of black, winged seeds.
Allocasuarina gymnanthera could be cultivated in an informal screen or native hedgerow.
The Mallee She Oak is confined to New South Wales and is found on the Central Tablelands, North West Slopes and Central West Slopes.
Propagate from seed. Collect some cones and in a week or so they will release an avalanche of black, winged seeds. They do not need any treatment before sowing.