Plants of
South Australia
Allocasuarina muelleriana ssp. muelleriana
Slaty Oak-bush,
Common Oak-bush
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Near threatened
Critically endangered
Data deficient
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 7

Prior names

Casuarina muelleriana

Common names

Slaty Oak-bush

Common Oak-bush


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 Muller (1825-1896), botanist, plant collector and Government Botanist of Victoria.

Distribution and status

Found in the southern part of South Australia, except on Kangaroo Island, growing in scrub and heath on rocky siliceous soils. Also found in Victoria. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in Victoria.
Herbarium regions: Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, South Eastern, Green Adelaide
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Dioecious or rarely monoecious shrub to 3 m high with smooth bark. Stem (looks like leaves) are ascending to 12 cm long with stem segments to 8 mm long and 0.8 mm diameter, usually angular, waxy, margins adjacent to furrows often raised (when dry), with 5 or 6 teeth (reduced leaves) to 0.5 mm long at segment junction. Male spikes resemble a necklace of beads, orange-brown. Female flowers singular, red. Cones on peduncle to 8 mm long with cone body to 28 mm long and 12 mm diameter. This subspecies differ from the other two subspecies found in South Australia which have thicker stems (0.7–1.1 mm diam.), flat rib margins and usually larger cones. Allocasuarina muelleria ssp. alticola is endemic to the northern Flinders Ranges, have cones which are sessile or on a short peduncle to 3 mm long and 2.5 mm diameter, whereas A. muelleria ssp. notocolpica is endemic to Kangaroo Island and have cones with peduncles to 17 mm and 4.5 mm thick. Flowers throughout the year. Fruits are greyish-brown woody cylindrical cone with several rows of valves hardly protruding far from cone body. Seeds are reddish brown, smooth and semi-flat seed to 9 mm long and 5 mm wide including the short 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 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. From two collections, the seed viability were low to average, ranging from 35% to 75%. Seeds are non-dormant, viable seed should germinate readily.

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
BGA8,600 (14.83 g)4025-Oct-2005Cox Scrub
Southern Lofty
40,950 (58.16 g)
40,950 (58.16 g)
Eyre Peninsula
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.