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Products > Allocasuarina torulosa
Allocasuarina torulosa - Forest Oak
Image of Allocasuarina torulosa
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Casurinaceae (She-oaks)
Origin: Australia (Australasia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Brown
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Synonyms: [Casuarina torulosa]
Height: 40-60 feet
Width: 15-25 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
Allocasuarina torulosa (Forest Oak) - An evergreen medium-sized tree that can grow to 40 to 60 feet tall with pendulous bronze-colored fine-textured foliage (technically segmented branchlets called cladodes) that is clustered gracefully near the branch tips. Also attractive is the pale chestnut colored bark that is corky and deeply fissured. The fallen cladodes form a dense, soft mat beneath this tree which is attractive and has allelopathic properties that prevents weeds from growing beneath these trees.

Grow in full sun and water moderately to occasional with deep irrigation. Hardy to around 20F - The specimen in our garden froze in our garden in the historic Christmas week freeze of 1990 when temperatures dropped below 20 F but resprouted to again become a beautiful tree within a few years.

Allocasuarina torulosa is a forest plant from Queensland and New South Wales, Australia, growing from south coast of New South Wales, north to Cape York in Queensland. With needle-like foliage and woody cone-like fruits, Casuarina and Allocasuarina are often mistaken for a conifer, but they are actually 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. This species was long called Casuarina torulosa but reclassified to its current genus in 1982 based on differences in the fruit and is the type species of the genus Allocasuarina. It is also commonly called Rose She-oak because of the quality of its wood, which is used for firewood or timber and used extensively for roof shingles. Its dense attractively grained wood for furniture use.

The name for the genus comes from the Greek word 'allo' meaning "other" combined with the genus name Casuarina, which 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 leaflike stems (cladodes) of plants in both genera. The specific epithet is a combination of the Latin words torulus meaning "the muscular parts of the body" combined with the adjective suffix meaning "plenitude" or "notable" with the inferred meaning being "cyclindrical, and marked with swellings" in refence to the leaf cladodes. This is a beloved tree that we first introduced in 1988 and grew until 2007, but later discontinued growing. After seeing a couple very attractive specimens we decided to grow it again in 2019. There is a very nice tree on the University of California Santa Barbara Campus (that has been moved twice!) and a beautiful grove of them in the University of California Santa Cruz Arboretum. We thank Jo O'Connell at Australian Native Plant Nursery in Ojai for helping us put this great plant back into production! 

This information about Allocasuarina torulosa 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.