Casuarina cunninghamiana Miq.
Source: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished.
- Folk Medicine
- Yields and Economics
- Biotic Factors
In Egypt, Casuarina is the most important genus in forestry, with C.
cunninghamiana and C. glauca protecting the desert highways, C.
equisetifolia, the coastal housing. Annual plantings were one million
seedlings in 1975, four million in 1980, projected at 1015 million in 1990.
In South Africa, used for firewood, poles, reclamation, shelterbelts, timer,
and windbreaks. Planted as a windbreak, superior to pine, in California. The
timber is durable and useful for flooring. The wood is dark, close-grain, and
nicely marked. The bark can be used as tanbark. Foliage is liable to be eaten
by livestock (Watt and Breyer-Brandwijk, 1962). In Argentina, it is planted on
the Pampas as a windbreak and shade tree, along stream banks to protect them
from erosion. Because of its importance for protecting stream banks from
erosion, it cannot be felled without permit in New South Wales. In Puerto
Rico, grown for ornament, shade and windbreak.
No data uncovered.
Once bioflavonyls were thought restricted to gymnosperms and Casuarina,
but now they have been found in other angiospermous genera, both monocots and
dicots, o-coumaric acid has been reported in the genus as well as
protocatechuic acid. Asparagine and glutamine accounted for 92% of the total
amino acid in the nodules. In root nodules of legumes, infection increases
markedly the IAA presents but in C. cunninghamiana (as in Myrica
cerifera) there is an increase in IAA oxidase and no detectable IAA. Hence
the nodule-roots grow upward rather than downward. Hemoglobin levels in the
root nodules are said to compare with those in the pea (Postgate, 1971). Bark
grown in Natal yields 6.711.3% tannin. The pollen may be allergenic.
Medium sized tree 1520 m or more tall, the trunk straight, to 30 cm in
diameter. Closely resembling C. equisetifolia, but the fruiting cones
are much smaller (ca 10 mm long), globular, very regular, with prominent
valves. Scale leaves 810, whorled at the nodes, minute. Male flowers crowded
in rings equipped with grayish scales, each with one exposed brown stamen, less
than 0.5 mm long, with two minute brown scalelike sepals. Seeds pale brown, ca
Reported from the Australian Center of Diversity, the river sheoak, or cvs
thereof, is reported to tolerate acid soils, alkaline soils, calcareous soils
(perhaps chlorotic), drought, muck, sanddunes, salt, weeds, and wind. This
species is more cold tolerant than the other Casuarinas grown in Florida (NAS,
1983e). In South Africa, it is said to be hardy to drought and frost. Not as
salt tolerant as Casuarina glauca. (2n = 18)
Native to eastern and northern Australia, growing from southern New South Wales
(latitude 37°S) to northern Queensland (latitude 12°S). It often fringes
freshwater streams and rivers on both sides of the Great Dividing Range. A
distinct race., possibly a separate species, occurs along larger rivers in
higher rainfall areas of the Northern Territory (NRC, 1982). Introduced in
Argentina, Arizona, California, Chile, Egypt, Florida, Israel, Mexico, Morocco,
South Africa, Zimbabwe.
Ranging from Warm Temperate Dry to Moist through Tropical Thorn to Dry Forest
Life Zones, the river sheoak is reported to tolerate annual precipitation of 5
to 15 dm. Has survived temperatures of -8°C with no apparent injury. Said
to tolerate up to 50 light frosts per year. Usually occurs in alluvial soils
varying from silty loams to sands and gravels. Casuarina spp. have
been observed as the first higher plant species to populate newly formed coral
atolls in the Pacific (Postgate, 1971).
In Hawaii seed are broadcast in spring and covered lightly with less than one
cm soil. A seedling density of ca 200325/m2 is recommended, but final
densities should, of course, be much thinner (Ag. Handbook 450). Molybdenum is
necessary for dinitrogen fixation.
In continental U.S., seed bearing age is 45 years and flowering peaks from
AprilJune, fruiting from SeptemberDecember. Good seed crops occur annually
(Ag. Handbook 450). Timber can be harvested as needed. Litter and firewood is
often gathered as the accumulation justifies.
No data uncovered.
Casuarina spp. have very dense wood, with specific gravity 0.81.2,
calorific value of ca 5,000 kcal/kg, splits easily, and burns slowly with
little smoke or ash. It also can be burned when green, an important advantage
in fuel short areas. From their fourth year, trees shed ca 4 tons cones/year.
These too make good pellet-sized fuel (NAS, 1983e). Casuarina spp. are
good for charcoal, losing only 2/3 their weight, compared to 3/4 for most woods.
Browne (1968) lists Perna exposita (Lepidoptera), and Hystrix
africaeaustralis (Mammalia). Agriculture Handbook No. 165 lists the
following diseases for Casuarina spp.: Armillaria mella (root
rot), Sorosporium saponariae (flower smut), Synchytrium chiltoni
(leaf gall), Synchytrium stellariae, and Ustilago alsinaea
(seed smut). Curly Top, Spotted Wilt, and Yellows viruses are also listed.
Complete list of references for Duke, Handbook of Energy Crops
- Agriculture Handbook 165. 1960. Index of plant diseases in the United States.
Agriculture Handbook 450. 1974. Seeds of woody plants in the United States.
Forest Service, USDA. USGPO. Washington.
Browne, F.G. 1968. Pests and diseases of forest plantations trees. Clarendon
N.A.S. 1983e. Casuarinas: nitrogen fixing trees for adverse sites. National
Academy Press, Washington, DC.
Postgate, J.R. 1971. The chemistry and biochemistry of nitrogen fixation.
Plenum Press, New York.
Watt, J.M. and Breyer-Brandwijk, M.G. 1962. The medicinal and poisonous plants
of southern and eastern Africa. 2nd ed. E.&S. Livingstone, Ltd., Edinburgh
Last update Tuesday, December 30, 1997