Thursday, February 21, 2019
Casuarina / She-Oaks - Casuarina
The Casuarina / She-Oaks - Casuarina is a small genus only including 17 species, only 3 are naturalized in the very Southern half of Florida. Native to Australia, Indonesia and Asia only, the Casuarina are considered to be one of Florida's most troublesome and aggressive invasive species. All three of the varieties found in Florida are referred to commonly as Australian Pine which is a direct reference to the similarity in branching. The leaves are tiny and scale like and encircle the branchlets at regular intervals. The number of leaves per encircling whorl provide the primary means for distinguishing one species from another. The Casuarina or Beefwood family is made up of about 90 species, only the Casuarina are found in the United States. Most are evergreen with pine like needles and cone shaped fruit. The flowers are generally uni-sexual, male and female can appear on either the same tree or different tree, depending on the species.
Image Citation: Tony Pernas, USDI National Park Service, Bugwood.org