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Common Name:

Australian Pine

Scientific Name:

Casuarina equisetifolia

Family Name:

Causuarinaceae

Description:

Australian Pine is not really a pine, but rather the horse-tail like small drooping stems lend a long-needled pine sort of look to the trees. Trees are nearly pantropical in warm climates, although originally native to Australia an portions of Southeast Asia. Plant are strongly responsive to environment, ranging from twisted shrubs in harsh windy sites to large evergreen trees in more favorable locations. Trees are subtropical, growing as trees only in the warmest portions of our region, as dieback shrubs or small trees in USDA zone 9. Trees are very salt tolerant and are common components of coastal landscapes around the warm regions of the world. Trees can become weedy in favorable sites. Fine twigs are the photosynthetic organs, leaves tiny and scale-like. Trees can be very handsome with a wind-swept wispy appearance.

Plant Habit or Use:

Shrub, medium shrub, large shrub, tree, small tree, medium tree, large tree, tropical

Exposure:

sun, partial sun

Flower Color:

Monoecious; males in staminate spikes; females in dense rose-red globose heads.

Blooming Period:

Summer

Fruit Characteristics:

Small short cylindrical spiny cone-like structure; maintenance liability.

Height:

site responsive; large dieback shrub to 40 ft tree in our region, to 70 ft in the tropics.

Width:

15 ft to 40 ft, wider as trees age.

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: Non-Defined Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Non-Defined Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Non-Defined Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: Non-Defined Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Non-Defined Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

7.00
Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

9, 10, 11

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

Use with caution as this species can become invasive in tropical climates; windthrow can be a problem in huricanes; tolerates periodic flooding once established; highly salt tolerant; grows well on poor fertility sites.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.