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Natural populations

Populations of this species extend east from the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, across Victoria to southeast New South Wales [1]. In Tasmania it mainly occurs in drier areas in the east and includes Flinders Island. Allocasuarina verticillata is a tree up to 10 m tall with pendulous foliage. It grows on a wide range of habitats extending from coastal headlands and plains to rocky outcrops on inland ranges. Soils include skeletal types derived from sandstone or granite, sandy coastal soils, including some derived from limestone, and heavier textured clay loams [1]. This species was formerly named Casuarina stricta [2].

Flowering and seeds

This species flowers during winter [3]. Mature cones have been collected during summer and autumn. There are about 60 viable seeds per gram; seeds start to germinate in about 14 days if grown at 15°C with no pretreatment required [3].

Cultivation and uses

Allocasuarina verticillata is a nitrogen fixing tree that can be grown on a range of sites. It is considered to have moderate growth rates and is a useful windbreak or shelterbelt species. It is valued as a drought fodder for stock and provides an excellent fuelwood [1]. The wood of A. verticillata is used for turnery, posts, firewood.

Key descriptors:
Climate parameters
Mean annual rainfall (mm): 350-1450 mm
Rainfall distribution pattern: winter or uniform
Mean annual temperature: 9-17 °C
Mean max. temperature of the hottest month: 18-32 °C
Mean min. temperature of the coldest month: -3-9 °C
Frosts (approx. no. per year): frost free or more or less frost free, or up to 20 or greater than 20
Frost intensity: light to moderate (0 to -5°C) or heavy (greater than -5°C)
Altitude: 0-900 metres
Tolerance of climate extremes
Drought: known to be moderately drought tolerant or known to be tolerant of protracted droughts
Fire: regenerates foliage after damaging fire
Frost: tolerates frosts in the 0° to -5°C range or tolerates heavy frosts colder than -5°C
Wind: known or has attributes to make an excellent windbreak or tolerates salt-laden coastal winds
Soil factors
Texture: clay loam, light to medium clay (35-50% clay), loam, sandy loam, sandy clay loam or sand
Soil pH reaction: acidic (less than 6.5), neutral (6.5-7.5) or alkaline (greater than 7.5)
Soil depth: skeletal to shallow (less than 30 cm) or moderate to deep (30-100 cm or greater)
Drainage:  well-drained
Salinity: slightly to moderately saline or non-saline
Tolerance of adverse soils
Extremes in pH: acidity or alkalinity
Extremes in texture: clayey or sand
Salinity: moderate (-8 dS m-1), nil - sensitive to saline soils or slight (2-4 dS m-1)
Soil waterlogging tolerance: nil - sensitive to waterlogged soils or up to two months
Biological traits under cultivation
Habit: evergreen tree 5-10 m tall
Longevity: moderate to long lived (>15 years)
Growth rate: moderate
Coppicing ability: vigorous, responds to pruning, pollarding
Root system: moderate to deep, shallow and spreading, fixes nitrogen via root symbiot
Erosion control potential: excellent for clayey sites or sandy sites
Windbreak potential: excellent (known or has good attributes) or tolerates salty coastal winds
Shade tolerance: grows best in full sunlight
Wood density: mod. to high (greater than 600 kg/cubic metre)
Carbon sequestration potential: moderate to high
Uses
Potential farm use: excellent windbreak, good for fence posts, shelterbelt or shade for stock, foliage has stock fodder potential
Specialty products: pollen has value for apiculture
Urban use: suitable as a screen or hedge
Wood products: craftwood (for turnery etc.), flooring (including parquetry), high quality fuelwood, industrial charcoal, panelling, poles (building, transmission, piling), posts (including fencing), speciality timber for quality furniture
Potentially undesirable attributes
Growth habit: shallow roots may outcompete adjacent plants
Foliage: highly susceptible to browsing by animals
Weediness: high potential based on its biology

References

[1] Marcar NE, Crawford DF (2004) Trees for Saline Landscapes. RIRDC Publication Number 03/108, Canberra.

[2] Australian Plant Name Index website: http://www.anbg.gov.au/cgi-bin/apni?taxon_id=28220

[3] Gunn BV (2001) Australian Tree Seed Centre Operations Manual. Internal Publication, CSIRO Australian Tree Seed Centre, ACT. [Online at http://www.ensisjv.com/Portals/0/atsc-opmanualcomplete.pdf  Accessed March 2008]

Internet links

eFloraSA Electronic Flora of South Australia:  http://www.flora.sa.gov.au/cgi-bin/texhtml.cgi?form=speciesfacts&family=&genus=Allocasuarina&species=verticillata&iname=&submit=Search

PlantNET National Herbarium of New South Wales: http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Allocasuarina~verticillata

Victorian Department of Primary Industry: http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/ Search site as several documents may relate to this species.

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