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Stradbroke Island, Qld

Natural populations

Allocasuarina littoralis is one of the most widespread species in eastern Australia, have a latitudinal range that extends south from the tip of Cape York Peninsula in north Queensland to southern parts of Tasmania [1]. It is most common east of the Great Dividing Range on along coastal and subcoastal sites and long the adjacent ranges, but in some areas, such as the central east of New South Wales, isolated stands extend inland for up to 450 km. This species attains up to 12 m tall on favourable sites and grows on a wide range of sites, but is most common on well-drained soils on hills and mountain slopes [1].

Flowering and seeds

This species is dioecious with male and female flowers on separate plants which flowers during autumn [1,2]. Female plants may bear woody cones in an indehiscent state for protracted periods and have been collected during May to August [3]. There are about 370 viable seeds per gram; seeds start to germinate in about 7 days if grown at 25°C with no pretreatment required [3].

Cultivation and uses

Allocasuarina littoralis is a fast growing, nitrogen fixing tree, that can be grown on recharge sites and a wide range of shallow, well-drained soils [1]. It has one of the widest latitudinal gradients of any tree species in eastern Australia. It is considered an excellent fuelwood and would make a useful windbreak or shelterbelt species. In the past, the wood of A. littoralis has been used for turnery, tool handles, yokes, furniture, farm buildings and roof shingles [1].

Key descriptors:
Climate parameters
Mean annual rainfall (mm): 650-1250 mm
Rainfall distribution pattern: summer or uniform
Mean annual temperature: 6-27 °C
Mean max. temperature of the hottest month: 19-30 °C
Mean min. temperature of the coldest month: -1-16 °C
Frosts (approx. no. per year): frost free or more or less frost free, up to or greater than 20
Frost intensity: light to moderate (0 to -5°C) or heavy (greater than -5°C)
Altitude: 0-1200 metres
Tolerance of climate extremes
Drought: known to be moderately drought tolerant or known to be tolerant of protracted droughts
Fire: killed by damaging fire does not regenerate foliage
Frost: tolerates frosts in the 0° to -5°C range
Wind: known or has attributes to make an excellent windbreak, tolerates salt-laden coastal winds
Soil factors
Texture: clay loam, light to medium clay (35-50% clay), loam, sandy loam, sandy clay loam or sand
Soil pH reaction: acidic (less than 6.5) or neutral (6.5-7.5)
Soil depth: skeletal to shallow (less than 30 cm)
Drainage: well-drained
Salinity: non-saline
Tolerance of adverse soils
Extremes in pH: acidity
Extremes in texture: sand
Salinity: nil - sensitive to saline soils
Soil waterlogging tolerance: nil - sensitive to waterlogged soils
Biological traits under cultivation
Habit: evergreen or usually produces a clear trunk
Longevity: moderate to long lived (>15 years)
Growth rate: fast
Coppicing ability: nil or negligible
Root system: shallow and spreading, fixes nitrogen via root symbiot
Erosion control potential: excellent for sandy sites
Windbreak potential: excellent (known or has good attributes), tolerates salty coastal winds
Wood density: mod. to high (greater than 600 kg/cubic metre)
Carbon sequestration potential: moderate
Uses
Potential farm use: excellent windbreak, shelterbelt or shade for stock
Specialty products: pollen has value for apiculture
Urban use: suitable as a screen or hedge
Wildlife value: a critical food source for at least one species
Wood products: craftwood (for turnery etc.), high quality fuelwood, industrial charcoal, light construction, speciality timber for quality furniture
Potentially undesirable attributes
Fire sensitivity: killed by severe fires (seeder)
Growth habit: shallow roots may outcompete adjacent plants
Foliage: highly susceptible to browsing by animals
Weediness: high potential based on its biology

References

[1] Doran JC, Turnbull JW (eds.) (1997) Australian Trees and Shrubs: species for land rehabilitation and farm planting in the tropics. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, Canberra [ACIAR books online: http://www.aciar.gov.au/publication/MN024 Accessed 24/02/2008]

[2] Clemson A (1985) Honey and Pollen Flora. Inkata Press, Melbourne.

[3] Gunn BV (2001) Australian Tree Seed Centre Operations Manual. Internal Publication, CSIRO Australian Tree Seed Centre, ACT. [Online at http://www.ensisjv.com/Portals/0/atsc-opmanualcomplete.pdf  Accessed March 2008]

Internet links

PlantNET National Herbarium of New South Wales: http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Allocasuarina~littoralis

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