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Allocasuarina luehmannii (R.T.Baker) L.A.S.Johnson 1985
pronounced: al-low-kazh-yoo-ar-EE-nuh loo-MAH-nee-eye
(Casuarinaceae – the She-oak family)
common names: Bull-oak, Buloke
Allocasuarina is from the Greek αλλως (allos), otherwise, like, and the Malay word kasuäri, the Cassowary – like Casuarina. This genus was separated out from the Casuarinas in the mid 1980s. Luehmannii is for Johann Georg Luehmann (1843 – 1904), a German botanist who was von Mueller’s right-hand man in Melbourne, and whose contribution to the building up and critical examination of the National Herbarium, Melbourne, was very great.
This Australian native extends from near Mareeba in North Queensland, across much of south-eastern Queensland, the western slopes of NSW, to north-western Victoria and the far south-east of South Australia. The species is typically a medium-sized tree 9 – 15 m tall, and grows on a wide range of soils, but mainly on sandy loams, and usually on lower parts of the terrain.
The Bull-oak is dioecious. The female tree pictured is at the southern end of Picnic Bay, near the road bridge over the creek. Several of the young trees nearby, descended from it, are male, and there is a male tree close behind it.
The branchlets are longer than those of the Black-oak, up to about 50 cm in length, the articles mostly 8 – 10 mm long, with 10 – 14 leaf-teeth, up to 1 mm in diameter. The fruits are barrel-shaped, about 1 – 1.5 cm wide by 1.5 – 2 cm long, on peduncles 5 - 10 mm long, and with the bottom of the fruit, where it is attached to the peduncle, flat.
Allocasuarina luehmannii is a nitrogen-fixing tree. Seeds are produced copiously, and there are over 200 viable seeds per gram. Early growth is relatively fast, but this is generally considered a slow-growing species. It is fairly salt-tolerant, produces excellent firewood, and is useful as a windbreak or shelter-belt tree. Its wood has been used for turning, flooring (including parquetry), fencing and roof shingles, and is valued for use in furniture and inlay work. It is also used in industrial charcoal-making. The tree coppices well. It is moderately long-lived for an Allocasuarina, usually living for at least 15 years. Its pollen is valuable in the apiculture industry.
Stands of these trees are endangered by farming practices in some areas, particularly in the Wimmera area of western Victoria, where it is integral to the survival of the endangered south-eastern sub-species of the Red-tailed Black cockatoo for feeding and nesting.
The shire of Buloke in Victoria is named after the species.
Photographs taken Picnic Bay 2009, 2012
Page last updated 11th July 2018