Allocasuarina paludosa: is a member of the Proteaceae family and is known as the Swamp She-oak. This is not a very apt common name as the species will survive and thrive in dry, well-drained situations.
Allocasuarina paludosa is a small, bushy shrub that will reach a height of about one metre.
All She-oaks have their leaves reduced to scales that are carried in whorls around the stems. The number of scales per whorl is used as part of the identification process. In the case of Allocasuarina paludosa there are 7-8 triangular scales per whorl (see right image). The reduction of leaves to scales means that all She-oaks, including Allocasuarina paludosa, have low water requirements.
She-oak stems photosynthesise and are known as cladodes.
Many She-oaks are dioecious: having male and female flowers on different plants. Allocasuarina paludosa may be dioecious or monoecious: having male and female flowers on the same plant.
Male flowers are small and held in cylindrical spikes on the ends of branchlets. When they mature male flower spikes become brown and release their pollen. Pollen is very light and carried by the wind.
Female flower heads are carried in dense clusters along the branches and are an eye-catching red colour (see left image). They appear in spring.
Fertilised female flower heads develop into woody cones about 1.5 centimetres long. Each cone contains a large number of small, winged, black seeds.
Allocasuarina paludosa is found in southern New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.
Allocasuarina paludosa is a hardy small shrub that could be cultivated, as a foreground plant, in native garden beds.
Plants carrying female flowers are very attractive.
Propagate from seed.