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Products > Casuarina glauca 'Cousin It'
Casuarina glauca 'Cousin It' - Prostrate Swamp Oak
Image of Casuarina glauca 'Cousin It'
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Casurinaceae (She-oaks)
Origin: Australia (Australasia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: NA
Bloomtime: Not Significant
Synonyms: [C.glauca prostrata, C. glauca 'Shagpile']
Height: <1 foot
Width: 6-8 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Seaside: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
Casuarina glauca 'Cousin It' (Prostrate Swamp Oak) An interesting and very attractive low growing evergreen shrub that mounds up to a foot tall where planted and then spreads outwards nearly flat to the ground for 6 to 8 feet wide or more with tiny needle-like blue-green foliage (technically segmented branchlets called cladodes) that cover the grey-brown horizontal stems, hugging the ground to mold over rocks and cascade over walls or other vertical surfaces. This selection has long been in cultivation and is yet to produce any flowers or fruit.

Plant in full sun to light shade in pretty much any soil, tolerating well drained to heavy soils that are slightly acidic to slightly alkaline (pH 6-8). Irrigate only infrequently or water more often to speed growth. Can be grown in near seashore conditions and is hardy to at least 20F - quite the adaptable plant! This is a great plant for use as a wide spreading groundcover, a specimen in the garden or for use as container plant or even in a large hanging basket or wall planting.

Casuarina glauca is a species native to the east coast of Australia from central Queensland, south to southern New South Wales. While the species has seeded out to become a naturalized weed in the Everglades in Florida and elsewhere, this prostrate form has not flowered or set seed in the many years (30+) that it has been in cultivation in Australia, so would pose no such problem. In Australia the species has also spread beyond its natural distribution, making sale of it in its native land restricted by law, but 'Cousin It' and several other prostrate cultivars are specifically exempt from this order. There have been several prostrate forms of Casuarina glauca selected, one at Bulli south of Sydney in New South Wales and another from further to the south in Booderee National Park and both have been planted in Australian gardens. Originally listed just as "prostrate form", in more recent years several cultivar names have been given these plants such as 'Kattang Karpet', 'Cousin It' and 'Shagpile', which many now consider synonymous.

More information about this plant's origins and cultivation in Australia can be found its listing on the website of the Australian National Botanic Garden. This plant was first sold in the United States in 2013 by Australian Outback Plants of Tonapah Arizona and it is rapidly becoming more common in the California nursery trade.

In Australia Casuarinas are commonly called She-oaks (or Sheoaks or Shee-Oak), or in the case of this species, Swamp Oak or Swamp She-oak because the wood is oak-like and it grows near brackish waterways. The name sheoak is not a name given by the Aboriginal Australian people but one applied by the English settlers and there are differing thoughts on its origin with one being descriptive to the sound the wind makes coming through the foliage combined with oak. Another thought is that prefix "she" was possibly an unfortunate sexist and disparaging commentary on the wood being inferior or more difficult to work than that of true oak and, for good reason, this name has rightfully grown out of favor. Other common names include ironwood and beefwood. As a group Casuarina are also called Native Pines for the needle-like leaves and a woody fruit that superficially resembles a conifer cone, however Casuarina are not related to conifers but are true flowering plants in their own family, the Casuarinaceae. They are dioecious, meaning that plants are either male or female, with a natural distribution limited to Australia, the Indian Subcontinent, southeast Asia, and islands of the western Pacific Ocean.

The name for the genus comes from the Malay word for the large flightless bird, the cassowary (in the genus Casuarius) which alludes to the similarities between the bird's feathers and the thin drooping stems and leaves of plants in this genus. The specific epithet is from the Greek word 'glaukos' meaning "bright", "grayish" or "bluish-green" in reference to the color of the foliage and the cultivar name is in reference to the character Cousin Itt, whose entire body is shrouded by long hair, in the 1960s television series "The Addams Family" - this plant should not be confused with a quite different plant we also grow that shares a reference to this same character, Acacia cognata Cousin Itt. We also grow the plant known as Forest Oak, which was reclassified from its original name Casuarina torulosa into a new genus as Allocasuarina torulosa

This information about Casuarina glauca 'Cousin It' displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.