Plants of
South Australia
Allocasuarina muelleriana ssp. alticola
Flinders Ranges Oak-bush
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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). Muelleriana named after Baron Ferdinand von Mueller (1825-1896), plant collector and Government Botanist of Victoria. Alticola from the Latin 'altum' meaning height and suffix '-cola' meaning to inhabit, referring to the its occurrence in the Flinders Ranges.

Distribution and status

Endemic to South Australia and found only in the northern Flinders Ranges from Freeling Heights south to Wilpena Pound and Bibliando, growing on rocky slopes. Native. Common in South Australia.
Herbarium region: Flinders Ranges
NRM region: South Australian Arid Lands
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Dioecious or rarely monoecious shrub to 3 m high with smooth bark. Stems (look like leaves) are ascending to 12 cm long with stem segments to 7 mm long and 1 mm wide, usually angular, waxy, margins adjacent to furrows not raised, with 7 to 8 teeth (reduced leaves) to 0.5 mm long at segment junction. Male spikes resemble a necklace of beads, orange-brown. Female flowers single, red. Cones sessile or on short peduncle to 3 mm long and 2.5 mm diameter with cone body to 30 mm long and 17 mm wide. This subspecies differs from the other two subspecies found in South Australia in that A. muelleriana ssp. muelleria have stem segments to 8 mm long and 0.8 mm diameter, cones with peduncles to 8 mm long and A. muelleria ssp. notocolpica which is endemic to Kangaroo Island, has stem segments to to 11 mm long and 1.1 mm diameter, cones with peduncles to 17 mm and 4.5 mm diameter. Flowers throughout the year. Fruits are greyish-brown, woody cylindrical cone with several rows of valves, hardly protruding from cone body. 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 tray and leave to dry for 2-3 weeks. This will allow the valves to dry and open releasing the seeds. Place the dried cones in a bucket and shake gently to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate seeds from the 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. Seeds are non-dormant, viable seed should germinate readily.

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
BGA5,100 (15.300 g)12-Jun-2021J. van Weenan
Flinders Ranges
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.