Allocasuarina rupicola: is a member of the Casuarinaceae (She Oak) family. The family is widespread with 96 species. As well as
Australiathe family occurs in the Pacific Islandsand Southeast Asia. All Australian species used to be enclosed in the Casuarina genus. But in the 1980ís a major split was made. Of the 64 Australian species only six remain as Casuarinas with the remainder moving to the Allocasuarina genus. The major visible difference is that the former genus has grey or yellow-brown seeds whilst the latter has red-brown or black seeds.
We tend to think of the Australian members of the family as tall trees such as Allocasuarina littoralis (Black She Oak) or Casuarina cunninghamiana (River Oak). In fact many species are medium to tall shrubs that are small enough to be accommodated in most gardens.
Allocasuarina rupicola is a slender shrub that will reach a height of two metres. Male and female flowers are carried on different plants. Male flowers are carried on the ends of branches. Individual male flowers are insignificant as their pollen is carried by the wind. When pollen ripens the braches become brown. Female flowers are carried along the branches, are red and have a mass of stigmas that catch passing pollen efficiently. Female flowers develop into small cones (about two centimetres long) that hold many black seeds.
The photograph illustrates a female plant covered in flowers.
Allocasuarina rupicola could be cultivated in native shrubberies and hedgerows.
This is a rare species found in
Boonoo Boonoo National Parknear Tenterfield in northern New South Wales.
Propagate from seed.
Note: Dioecious is the term for plants with male and female flowers on separate plants.