Native plant of the month Casuarina equisetifolia

Casuarina equisetifolia

commonly known as  “Horse-tail She-oak”

Casuarina (cas-ewe-ah-REEN-ah) equisetifolia (ek-wee-set-ee-FOAL-ee-ah) takes its name from the foliage resembling horse’s tail.

This graceful drooping tree grows 6-8 metres and “sings” in the breeze.  It produces reddish brown flowers (male and female flowers on the same tree) in March-May, followed by bird attracting seed pods.

The Coastal She-oak grows naturally on ridge tops of frontal dunes, from the Gulf of Carpentaria Qld to northern NSW. It is also seen on most Moreton Bay islands.  It tolerates S/E ocean winds making it ideal for windbreaks & dune stability. They grow in sandy soil, in full or filtered sun.

Local indigenous uses included spear making, seeds roasted to supply salt, stems were chewed to alleviate thirst and the bark was used to treat diarrhea and dysentery.

Casuarina equisetifolia flowers attract Rainbow Lorikeets and bees, while the seed is enjoyed by red-tailed Glossy Black Cockatoos.

Information provided by Coolum Community Native Nursery

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