Common Ironwood Tree
Casuarina equisetifolia – Common Ironwood
Other Common Names: Beach Sheoak, Australian Beefwood, Horsetail Casuarina, Australian Pine
Casuarina equisetifolia, is a tall tree that has a straight trunk with rough bark and branches that make up an open and irregular crown. Although it looks like a pine tree, it is not considered as a pine at all. It belongs to the family of Csuarinaceae and is also known as Australian Beefwood, Australian Pine, Horsetail Casuarina, Beach Sheoak, and Common Ironwood.
Common Ironwood trees can grow as high as 30 meters or 100 feet, but sometimes they can grow up to 46 meters. They can be considered as fast growing because they can grow 1.5 to 3 meters per year and they can last up to 50 years.
The bark, especially on older trees, is rough and has a grayish brown color outside and reddish brown inside. It has long and lean and drooping branches with scaly, pine needle-like leaves that can grow 9 to 15 inches long.
They are monoecious, which means that separate carpellate and staminate flowers can be found on the same plant always. Simply put, both male and female flowers are produced on the same plant or tree. The flowers of the tree can be described as tiny, light brown, and typically non-descript. They are produced in a cluster, with the male flower growing in spikes about 0.7 to 4 centimeters long, and the female flowers produced on short peduncles or stems.
The fruits are woody and oval, between 10 t0 24 millimeters long and 9 to 13 millimeters in diameter. Each fruit contains a single seed that has a small wing that is 6 to 8 millimeters long.
The wood of the Common Ironwood is usually used for shingles and fencing. They are also said to make excellent firewood.