Plants of
South Australia
Allocasuarina pusilla
Casuarinaceae
Heath Oak-bush
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 4.

Etymology

Allocasuarina from the Greek 'allos' meaning other or different, indicating the relationship with the genus Casuarina (first used by Rumphius (1743) in allusion to the supposed resemblance of the "foliage" of Casuarina equisetifolia to the plumage of the Cassowary, which is from the Malay 'kesuari', later being latinised as Casuarius). Pusilla from Latin meaning very small, may refer to the small habit of the plant.

Distribution and status

Found across the southern part of South Australia, from Eyre Peninsula to the lower South-east, growing in heath on sandy soil. Also found in Victoria. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in Victoria.
Herbarium regions: Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, South Eastern
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Dioecious shrub to 1 m high. Articles (stem segment) terete, smooth to 9 mm long and 1 mm diameter with 5-7 pale teeth (reduced leaves) around the end overlapping at their bases. Male spikes to 2 cm long, slender, with 9-10 whorls per cm. Female Flower red-brown to 1 mm long. Fruits are sub-globular or short-cylindrical woody cone to 1.5 cm long, with numerous valves. Seeds are smooth semi-flat black seeds to 5 mm long, with a papery wing at one end. Seed embryo type is investing.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between January and December. Cones can be collected anytime as mature cones remain on the female plant. Collect cones that have closed valves from the lower part of the stem as these are more mature. Place cones in a paper bag and leave to dry for 2-3 weeks. This will allow the valves to dry and open, releasing the seeds. Then place the cones in a bucket and shake gently to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate seeds from unwanted material. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place From one collection, the seed viability was average, at 65%. Seeds are non-dormant, viable seed should germinate readily.

Seeds stored:
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LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA 
MSB
12,000 (17.6 g)
12,000 (17.6 g)
13-Oct-2005DJD144
Southern Lofty
28-Jul-200665%-18°C
Location: BGA — the seeds are stored at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, MSB — the seeds are stored at the Millennium Seed Bank, Kew, England.
Number of plants: This is the number of plants from which the seeds were collected.
Collection location: The Herbarium of South Australia's region name.
% Viability: Percentage of filled healthy seeds determined by a cut test or x-ray.