Australian Pine, Casuarina equisetifolia,
tree of the family Casuarinaceae.

Etymology: Its Latin name Casuarina means "branch" because you can confuse its wired leaf with a branch. From this follows also the name Casoar. One says that Casuarina was used the first time by Georg Everhard Rumphius alluding to the supposed resemblance of the foliage of Casuarina equisetifolia to the plumage of the Cassowary.

Origin: Australia, Indonesia, New Caledonia, Malaysia.

Other species: C. incana, C. glauca, C. bennetti, C. nana (3 m tall) over a hundred of species.
Habitat : tropical littoral zones.
Lifespan: 50 years.
Height: 40 m (the tallest species of Australian Pines).
Growth: fast (ordinarily 1m a year, but a growth of 10m in 2 years was recorded in the Barbados).
Hurt Form, often tilted crown.
Pale pink bark.
Persistent foliage. Fine needles of 15-20 cm long, established individually. The natural litter formed by the needles of Australian Pine on the ground must be removed to allow the Australian Pine forest to regenerate.
Flowers: Flowers have no perianth, grouped in catkins (spike unisexual). Every carpel opens independently to give a fruit.

Fruit: cone-shaped round, of 1-2 cm in diameter, containing akenes. These fruits are prickly and dangerous for the bare feet of the walkers.
Uses: resistant to drought and to saline ambiences, the Australian Pine is planted as windbreaks in seaside in the tropics. It also replaces the Christmas fir in the tropics. The Australian Pine lives in symbiosis with a filamentous actinobacterium of the genus Frankia (like alder), it evolves in the form of filaments radiating in the root system, pumping atmospheric nitrogen in the air to enrich the soil . This symbiosis allows filao to settle as a pioneer.
Abundant needles can be used as fuel for smoking fish by hand or compost in gardening and horticulture. The wood is hard, heavy, difficult to saw, cracking with drought makes it unfit for use, except raw, for post. It is also known as a good firewood.


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