Casuarina equisetifolia

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Photographs by: Dr. Maulik Gadani

  • Botanical Name : Casuarina equisetifolia L.
  • Casuarina is believed to be derived from the Latin word 'casuarius' means 'a type of bird', from the resemblance of the branches to its feather. The species name 'equisetifolia' means leaves like an 'equisetum' or horse tail.

  • Synonyms : Casuarina indica Pers
  • Common Name : Sharu, Beef-wood Tree, Sea-Oak, Whistling Pine
  • Plant Family : Casuarinaceae
  • Plant Form : Tree
  • Occurrence (Sectors) : 1, 6, 12, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23
  • Occurrence (Special Areas) : Indroda Park, Ayurvedic Udyan, Van Chetana Kendra, Basan

About Casuarina equisetifolia Plant :

  • Habit : A large and handsome tree with brown rough, fibrous bark peeling in vertical stripes, wood yellowish-pink to reddish-brown, very hard.
  • Stem : Drooping branches, internodes short and furrowed.
  • Leaves : In whorls of 6-8, scales-like.
  • Inflorescence : Flowers monoecious; male flowers in terminal spikes usually numerous at the ends of the same branches on which the females are borne lower down.
  • Flowers :
    • Flowers are in whorls.
    • Each male flower in the axil of a bract which with other bracts at the node form a sheath protecting the young flowers.
    • There are 2 bracteoles and 2 small median hood-shaped perianth leaves of which rarely only the posterior is present.
    • Stamen one, anther 2-celled, large.
    • Female flowers are crowded at the ends of short lateral branches.
    • Each stands singly in the axil of a bract with a pair of bracteoles, perianth 0.
    • Ovary 1-celled composed of two carpels, ovules 2, parietal, ascending, style with 2 filiform stigmas.
  • Fruit : Winged nut. The whole ripe female catkin resembles a small cone which is formed by the bracteoles becoming woody and form five valves enclosing the compressed nut like winged fruits.
  • Flowering and Fruiting Time : August-November
  • Significance :
    • Wood is used for house pots, rafters, electric poles, mine props and masts of country craft.
    • The bark is astringent and is useful in diarrhea and dysentery.
    • A lotion of it is reported to be efficacious in beriberi.
    • A decoction of the leaves is used in colic and powdered seeds are applied as plaster in headache.