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She-oak flowers

Posted By Geraldine Star  

Shee-Oak is the title of my book and I named it because I was always intrigued by She-oak trees with their drooping branchlets which look like leaves and whispering sounds. I never realised their flowering patterns were much more complex, which sets them apart from the conifers or pine trees. This a short summary of what I have found out about these mysteriously sounding trees.

She-oaks are members of the Australian casuarina species and are evergreen. The Latin name casuarina derives from the word cassowary as it was believed that the leaves of the She-oak looked like the feathers of the bird. She-oaks are unusual because there are separate female and male plants. The females have small red flowers like pompoms (see photo) and these develop into woody seed cones. Male flowers have yellowish-brown spikes and no cones. Flowers are pollinated by the wind and the male flowers will change colour as they release their pollen.

Birds enjoy the She-oak tree. The endangered Glossy Black Cockatoo has a specialised diet and almost exclusively feeds on the woody cones. The trees are drought tolerant and can fix nitrogen with nodules on their roots.

Both the female and male She-oak flowers are used as part of Australian bush flower essences. They are used as remedies for different purposes. It is believed the female flower bush essence helps with reproduction issues and menopausal symptoms and the male flower essence aids the acceptance of oneself and trust in relationships.


Photo courtesy of Sue Doran 2021