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Casuarina cunninghamiana Miq.
Cunningham Casuarina

Life   Plantae   Dicotyledoneae   Casuarinaceae   Casuarina

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Associates · map
FamilyScientific name @ source (records)
Agaricaceae  Phoma @ BPI (1)
Amphisphaeriaceae  Pestalotia casuarinae @ BPI (1)
Erysiphaceae  Oidium @ BPI (1)
Miridae  Aitkenia latevagans @ AMNH_PBI (28)

Austromiris @ UNSW_ENT (4)

Gn_orthotylinigp12 sp_003 @ AMNH_PBI (2)

Lattinova jacki @ AMNH_PBI (1)
Oxycarenidae  Oxycarenus luctuosus @ UNSW_ENT (1)
Polyporaceae  Polyporus patouillardii @ BPI (1)
Tingidae  Epimixia vulturna @ AMNH_PBI (257)
_  Gn @ AMNH_PBI (17)

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Casuarina cunninghamiana Miq.

River sheoak

Source: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished.

  1. Uses
  2. Folk Medicine
  3. Chemistry
  4. Description
  5. Germplasm
  6. Distribution
  7. Ecology
  8. Cultivation
  9. Harvesting
  10. Yields and Economics
  11. Energy
  12. Biotic Factors
  13. References


In Egypt, Casuarina is the most important genus in forestry, with C. cunninghamiana and C. glauca protecting the desert highways, C. equisetifolia, the coastal housing. Annual plantings were one million seedlings in 1975, four million in 1980, projected at 10–15 million in 1990. In South Africa, used for firewood, poles, reclamation, shelterbelts, timer, and windbreaks. Planted as a windbreak, superior to pine, in California. The timber is durable and useful for flooring. The wood is dark, close-grain, and nicely marked. The bark can be used as tanbark. Foliage is liable to be eaten by livestock (Watt and Breyer-Brandwijk, 1962). In Argentina, it is planted on the Pampas as a windbreak and shade tree, along stream banks to protect them from erosion. Because of its importance for protecting stream banks from erosion, it cannot be felled without permit in New South Wales. In Puerto Rico, grown for ornament, shade and windbreak.

Folk Medicine

No data uncovered.


Once bioflavonyls were thought restricted to gymnosperms and Casuarina, but now they have been found in other angiospermous genera, both monocots and dicots, o-coumaric acid has been reported in the genus as well as protocatechuic acid. Asparagine and glutamine accounted for 92% of the total amino acid in the nodules. In root nodules of legumes, infection increases markedly the IAA presents but in C. cunninghamiana (as in Myrica cerifera ) there is an increase in IAA oxidase and no detectable IAA. Hence the nodule-roots grow upward rather than downward. Hemoglobin levels in the root nodules are said to compare with those in the pea (Postgate, 1971). Bark grown in Natal yields 6.7–11.3% tannin. The pollen may be allergenic.


Medium sized tree 15–20 m or more tall, the trunk straight, to 30 cm in diameter. Closely resembling C. equisetifolia, but the fruiting cones are much smaller (ca 10 mm long), globular, very regular, with prominent valves. Scale leaves 8–10, whorled at the nodes, minute. Male flowers crowded in rings equipped with grayish scales, each with one exposed brown stamen, less than 0.5 mm long, with two minute brown scalelike sepals. Seeds pale brown, ca 440,000–550,000/kg.


Reported from the Australian Center of Diversity, the river sheoak, or cvs thereof, is reported to tolerate acid soils, alkaline soils, calcareous soils (perhaps chlorotic), drought, muck, sanddunes, salt, weeds, and wind. This species is more cold tolerant than the other Casuarinas grown in Florida (NAS, 1983e). In South Africa, it is said to be hardy to drought and frost. Not as salt tolerant as Casuarina glauca . (2 n = 18)


Native to eastern and northern Australia, growing from southern New South Wales (latitude 37°S) to northern Queensland (latitude 12°S). It often fringes freshwater streams and rivers on both sides of the Great Dividing Range. A distinct race., possibly a separate species, occurs along larger rivers in higher rainfall areas of the Northern Territory (NRC, 1982). Introduced in Argentina, Arizona, California, Chile, Egypt, Florida, Israel, Mexico, Morocco, South Africa, Zimbabwe.


Ranging from Warm Temperate Dry to Moist through Tropical Thorn to Dry Forest Life Zones, the river sheoak is reported to tolerate annual precipitation of 5 to 15 dm. Has survived temperatures of -8°C with no apparent injury. Said to tolerate up to 50 light frosts per year. Usually occurs in alluvial soils varying from silty loams to sands and gravels. Casuarina spp. have been observed as the first higher plant species to populate newly formed coral atolls in the Pacific (Postgate, 1971).


In Hawaii seed are broadcast in spring and covered lightly with less than one cm soil. A seedling density of ca 200–325/m 2 is recommended, but final densities should, of course, be much thinner (Ag. Handbook 450). Molybdenum is necessary for dinitrogen fixation.


In continental U.S., seed bearing age is 4–5 years and flowering peaks from April–June, fruiting from September–December. Good seed crops occur annually (Ag. Handbook 450). Timber can be harvested as needed. Litter and firewood is often gathered as the accumulation justifies.

Yields and Economics

No data uncovered.


Casuarina spp. have very dense wood, with specific gravity 0.8–1.2, calorific value of ca 5,000 kcal/kg, splits easily, and burns slowly with little smoke or ash. It also can be burned when green, an important advantage in fuel short areas. From their fourth year, trees shed ca 4 tons cones/year. These too make good pellet-sized fuel (NAS, 1983e). Casuarina spp. are good for charcoal, losing only 2/3 their weight, compared to 3/4 for most woods.

Biotic Factors

Browne (1968) lists Perna exposita (Lepidoptera), and Hystrix africaeaustralis (Mammalia). Agriculture Handbook No. 165 lists the following diseases for Casuarina spp.: Armillaria mella (root rot), Sorosporium saponariae (flower smut), Synchytrium chiltoni (leaf gall), Synchytrium stellariae, and Ustilago alsinaea (seed smut). Curly Top, Spotted Wilt, and Yellows viruses are also listed.


  • Agriculture Handbook 165. 1960. Index of plant diseases in the United States. USGPO. Washington.
  • Agriculture Handbook 450. 1974. Seeds of woody plants in the United States. Forest Service, USDA. USGPO. Washington.
  • Browne, F.G. 1968. Pests and diseases of forest plantations trees. Clarendon Press, Oxford.
  • N.A.S. 1983e. Casuarinas: nitrogen fixing trees for adverse sites. National Academy Press, Washington, DC.
  • Postgate, J.R. 1971. The chemistry and biochemistry of nitrogen fixation. Plenum Press, New York.
  • Watt, J.M. and Breyer-Brandwijk, M.G. 1962. The medicinal and poisonous plants of southern and eastern Africa. 2nd ed. E.&S. Livingstone, Ltd., Edinburgh and London.
Complete list of references for Duke, Handbook of Energy Crops
Last update Tuesday, December 30, 1997

Following served from American Museum of Natural History, Plant Bug AMNH_PBI00001474 wa%201997%20l17%20h044
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http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CACU8 ---> https://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CACU8
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Casuarina cunninghamiana Miq.
river sheoak

Image of Casuarina cunninghamiana

General Information
Symbol: CACU8
Group: Dicot
Family: Casuarinaceae
Duration: Perennial
Growth Habit : Tree
Native Status : L48   I
PR   I
Data Source and Documentation
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green round image for nativity Native blue round image for introduced Introduced ocre round image for introduced and nativity Both white round image for no status Absent/Unreported
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Native Status:
lower 48 status L48    Alaska status AK    Hawaii status HI    Puerto Rico status PR    Virgin Islands status VI    Navassa Island NAV    Canada status CAN    Greenland status GL    Saint Pierre and Michelon status SPM    North America NA   


click on a thumbnail to view an image, or see all the Casuarina thumbnails at the Plants Gallery

©J.S. Peterson. USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center (NPDC). Australia, New South Wales, Sydney, Royal Botanic Gardens. March 13, 2002. Usage Requirements .

©J.S. Peterson. USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center (NPDC). Australia, New South Wales, Sydney, Royal Botanic Gardens. March 13, 2002. Usage Requirements .

Steve Hurst. Provided by ARS Systematic Botany and Mycology Laboratory . Australia, Woy-Woy. Usage Requirements .




Click on a scientific name below to expand it in the PLANTS Classification Report.
Rank Scientific Name and Common Name
Kingdom Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass Hamamelididae
Order Casuarinales
Family Casuarinaceae – She-oak family
Genus Casuarina Rumph. ex L. – sheoak
Species Casuarina cunninghamiana Miq. – river sheoak

Subordinate Taxa

This plant has no children

Legal Status

Noxious Weed Information
This plant is listed by the U.S. federal government or a state. Common names are from state and federal lists. Click on a place name to get a complete noxious weed list for that location, or click here for a composite list of all Federal and State Noxious Weeds .
Florida Casuarina
Australian pine Prohibited aquatic plant, Class 1

Wetland Status

Interpreting Wetland Status

Top Level Regions
Caribbean UPL
Hawaii UPL
North America
Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain FAC

Related Links

More Accounts and Images
ARS Germplasm Resources Information Network (CACU8)
Flora of North America (CACU8)
Integrated Taxonomic Information System (CACU8)
USDA Forest Service Fire Effects Information System (CACU8)
USF Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants (CACU8)
Related Websites
Australian National University, Botany & Dendrology: images (CACU8)
Pacific Basin-Traditional Tree Initiative (CACU8)
Purdue University, Center for New Crops & Plants Products: abstract (CACU8)
Texas A&M: Vascular Plant Image Gallery (CACU8)



Source Large Mammals Small Mammals Water Birds Terrestrial Birds


Source Large Mammals Small Mammals Water Birds Terrestrial Birds

Description of Values

Value Class Food Cover

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2. Casuarina cunninghamiana Miquel, Rev. Crit. Casuarinarum. 56, plate 6A. 1848.

River she-oak, Cunningham's beefwood

Subspecies 2 (1 in the flora): North America; native to ne, e Australia.

Updated: 2020-08-05 14:22:49 gmt
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