Australian Pine, Horsetail Casuarina
Casuarina equisetifolia

Family: Casuarinaceae
Genus: Casuarina (kazh-yoo-ar-EYE-nuh) (Info)
Species: equisetifolia (ek-wih-set-ih-FOL-ee-uh) (Info)
View this plant in a garden

Category:

Trees

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us

Height:

over 40 ft. (12 m)

Spacing:

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Brown/Bronze

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Foliage:

Deciduous

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona

Bartow, Florida

Big Pine Key, Florida

Boca Raton, Florida

Cocoa, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

New Port Richey, Florida

Pompano Beach, Florida

Port Saint Lucie, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Hilo, Hawaii

Honomu, Hawaii

Kailua, Hawaii

Brownsville, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

1
positive
6
neutrals
7
negatives
RatingContent
Neutral

On Jan 21, 2009, yngrayn from Merritt Island, FL wrote:

I sent a note directly to deekayn, but a larger audience may help:

Has anyone used this wood on the bar-b-que grill? I use it for firewood, but not for cooking. Anyone have any experience cooking a steak on the Australian Pine coals?

Thanks,
rockemanray

Positive

On Oct 26, 2006, vander from Brisbane
Australia wrote:

love this tree

Negative

On May 17, 2005, jnana from South Florida, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

Considered Category 1 of highly invasive plants by the state of Florida. Easily uprooted during storms and hurricanes causing damage to property and electrical lines. Do not plant this tree if living in Florida.

Negative

On Jan 28, 2005, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

An increasingly invasive pest tree of the deep coastal south.

The casuarinas, or beefwoods, represent a large group of tropical species. Unlike the pines, they are a true flowering plant. The blossoms are tiny and the needles resemble those of the native horsetail, equisetum. They are also similar to the feathers of the flightless casowary bird, from which the name comes.

It is frequently used in windbreaks and erosion control, but the windborne seeds have caused this tree to escape into the wild and it is now threatening native plants and trees.

Negative

On Dec 12, 2004, TREEHUGR from Now in Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

It's a shame that so many recreation parks in the southern half of florida have these, and they are used as shelterbelts for citrus farms. I even saw where they are being used as a hedge in west palm beach. You might call it a staple of the south florida landscape because they're hard to miss and are found all over.

What's an even bigger shame however, is that propery owners, the parks, and citrus farmers that do have these....still have them!! The problem is not going to go away if people continue to do nothing. But I suspect some education and perhaps a little law enforcement would do the trick.

Looks like progress is being made in the eradication programs that I saw along US-27 in Broward and Dade counties.

Negative

On Aug 5, 2004, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Unfortunately, this invasive, harmful tree does grow in central Florida. It is even worse along the coastline.

Negative

On Aug 4, 2004, NativePlantFan9 from Boca Raton, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Australian Pine, Beefwood, Australian Oak, She-oak, or Horsetail Tree is very invasive in many habitats in coastal central and southern Florida from Cape Canaveral and Saint Petersburg/Tampa Bay southward throughout the Keys, including in my area. I see a lot of these trees growing on the barrier islands, where they interfere with native vegetation, both on the oceanfront (where it crowds out valuable, hardy, salt-tolerant native plants such as sea grapes, sea oats and railroad vines that hold the dune in place and prevent erosion) as well as along the Intracoastal Waterway (where it destroys important mangrove swamp habitat for wildlife by crowding out the native plants such as mangroves and littering the ground with its seedlings, causing it to spread, as well as its needles, which smoth... read more

Neutral

On Jul 9, 2004, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

The trees also grew in Cuba, where I was born. I remember the lovely sound produced as the wind coming from our bay played among the beanches......a unique, long and soft whooooosh that immediately brings childhood memories when I hear it.

As punaheledp says, it is quite invasive also on the Island of Hawaii, though not slated for biological control at this time either.

There is a State Park (McKenzie) in the SE Coastal area of Puna on this island where the trees have taken over......no grass grows and the "pine needles" have formed a thick carpet that covers almost the whole area of the park. An eerie site and feeling as it also cushions most noises. Even though there might be other people around, the whole effect is quite lonely feeling and ghostly.

Neutral

On Jul 8, 2004, punaheledp from Kailua, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

in Hawaii it is called "ironwood" and is on the pest plant list, though not slated for biological conntol at this time because it is beneficial for windbreak, erosion control and nitrogen fixation. it can grow to 40m and up to 500m elevation. Most commonly seen along shoreline, see lots on windward and north shores. They can be kind of attractive from a distance, but don't want to walk barefoor thru' them on way to beach... the little cones are hard and pokey, ouch.

Neutral

On Jan 21, 2004, deekayn from Tweed Coast
Australia wrote:

The Aborigines made a mouthwash from the twigs

Negative

On Jun 14, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

Its a great tree to block wind and dust, specially in coastal areas. Because of this utility, this species of Australian pine became out of control, since its seeds also are carried away by the winds. Thats how it turned out to be one of the most dangerous species to the coastal ecossystems, taking over the place once ocupied by native species.

As for blocking the wind, other species, preferably native ones, should be planted instead of Casuarina, because theres no way to control it.

Negative

On Nov 18, 2002, FranG from Brighton, MA wrote:

Invasive species. Attempts are being made to eradicate it in Florida.

Neutral

On Nov 17, 2002, Weezingreens from Seward, AK (Zone 3b) wrote:

Australian pine is not a pine, though it has cone-like fruit and wispy bracts of scaly deciduous leaves that resemble needles. It is native to Malaysia, Southern Asia, Oceana & Australia. Other common names are Ironwood, Horsetail Tree, She Oak, & Beefwood.

Australian pine can grow 5 to 10 feet per year, sometimes reaching a height of 100 feet, thus producing dense shade. As well, it drops its fruit and leaves, completely covering the ground below, altering the light, temperature, and chemistry of the soil and destroying the habitat.

Australian pine was introduced into Florida in the 1800's to stabilize ditches & canals, as well as producing lumber and affording shade. Unfortunately, the root system is shallow and they blow over easily, the wood tends to shat... read more

Neutral

On Oct 12, 2001, Floridian from Lutz, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Australian pine is a deciduous tree with a soft, wispy, pine-like appearance that can grow to 100 feet or more in height. It bears a superficial resemblance to the conifer genus Pinus because of its small, round, cone-like fruits and its branchlets of scale-like leaves that look like pine needles. Its flowers are tiny, brown and wind-pollinated. The fruit is a nutlet about inch in diameter that contains winged seeds. The ground below Australian pine trees becomes ecologically sterile and lacking in food value for native wildlife. Australian pine occurs in open, coastal strand habitat, characterized by sand and shell beaches, rocky coasts, sand dunes, and sand bars in subtropical climates.