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Scrub She-oak

Allocasuarina paludosa


Allocasuarina paludosa, commonly known as the "swamp she-oak" or "scrub she-oak", is a woody shrub of the family Casuarinaceae, and is endemic to south-eastern Australia. Plants can grow as trees or shrubs up to about 3 metres high, and are notable for their long, segmented branchlets that function as leaves. Formally termed cladodes, these branchlets somewhat resemble pine needles, although she-oaks are flowering plants. The leaves are reduced to minute scales encircling each joint (which you can see in the 1st photo). Fallen cladodes form a dense, soft mat beneath she-oaks, preventing the development of undergrowth (a phenomenon known as allelopathy) and making she-oak woods remarkably quiet. Another characteristic feature are the spiny cones, about the size of an acorn but with a texture more resembling a conifer cone. However, she-oak cones are a woody fruit. Male specimens bear no fruit and are sometimes colloquially referred to as a "he-oak". (Wikipedia)


Bouddi National Park on the NSW Central Coast. The park has mixed vegetation, but this area was mostly windswept heathlands. Coastal, so very salty air and sandy soils. Here's some park info:


She-oaks are usually found growing in sandy and other poor soils, and like peas and beans, are able to ‘fix’ nitrogen in the soil through nodes of symbiotic bacteria on their roots. This is critical for other species that depend on this natural fertiliser to grow in Australia’s poor soils.

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Neil Ross
Neil Ross 2 years ago

Thanks, Maria. Such an unusual genus. I find them fascinating!

Maria dB
Maria dB 2 years ago

What an interesting plant - thanks for sharing!

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 2 years ago

Cheers, Mark. I appreciate the nomination :)

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 2 years ago

Your spotting has been nominated for the Spotting of the Week. The winner will be chosen by the Project Noah Rangers based on a combination of factors including: uniqueness of the shot, status of the organism (for example, rare or endangered), quality of the information provided in the habitat and description sections. There is a subjective element, of course; the spotting with the highest number of Ranger votes is chosen. Congratulations on being nominated!

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 2 years ago

Thanks, Tukup. She-oak is yet another example of Australia's quirky wildlife.

Tukup 2 years ago

I clicked on the thumbnail expecting to see a cactus. My eyes aren't real good 😊 What an interesting plant. Thanks for the great description and notes, as usual, Neil.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 2 years ago

Thanks, Brian. The various she-oak species are quite amazing. This one is typically heath-like and does really well in windswept environments.

Brian38 2 years ago

Fascinating! Superb notes as always, Neil!

Neil Ross
Spotted by
Neil Ross

Killcare Heights, New South Wales, Australia

Spotted on Mar 7, 2021
Submitted on Mar 13, 2021

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