Black She Oak: An Eye-Catching Plant

by Australian Flowers

If you like having an unusual and unique plant in your garden, then the Black She Oak (Allocasuarina) could be perfect! This Australian native is not only eye-catching but also low-maintenance.

It has a powerful and distinctive black trunk that will surely add a touch of drama to your garden. Before we go over how to care for this plant, let’s know more about it.

Black She Oak (Allocasuarina)

Black She Oak

The tree is found naturally in dry sclerophyll forests and woodlands in eastern Australia. It can grow to 20 metres and has dark-coloured, deeply furrowed bark. The leaves are small and scale-like, and the flowers are tiny and red. The tree is an important food source for native animals, and the wood is used in various ways by Aboriginal people.

It was first discovered by Europeans in 1770 when Captain Cook sailed along the eastern coast of Australia. The tree was formally described by the French botanist Pierre Joseph Buc’hoz in 1776.


The flowers are small and inconspicuous, occurring in spikes or short racemes. The male and female flowers appear on separate plants (i.e. they are dioecious). Male flower spikes are 6-12 mm long, and female flower spikes are 3-6 mm long. Flowering occurs mainly during late spring and early summer (i.e. from October to December) but occasionally at other times of the year.


Allocasuarina leaves are glossy black or very dark green and have a beautiful, delicate shape. The tree grows to around 15 metres and has a spreading crown. The bark is black and deeply fissured. The trees are found in coastal areas of Australia, from Queensland to Victoria. They are very tolerant of salt and wind, making them ideal for coastal gardens.


Seed germination can be difficult with the tree. A period of calm, moist stratification is required for reasonable germination rates. Seed should be surface sown on a well-drained source-raising mix and kept moist until germination occurs, which can take up to several months.

It is one of Australia’s most widespread and abundant tree species. They are found in all states and territories except for Tasmania. The tree grows in many habitats, from coastal dune systems to inland woodlands.


The fruit of is a small woody cone-like structure (i.e. a strobilus or catkin) that turns reddish-brown when mature. Each of these “cones” contains numerous tiny seeds dispersed by the wind.

Its fruits are helpful to birds and small mammals as a food source, and the tree provides valuable habitat for many species of animals. It can be a great source of shade and shelter in hot, dry conditions.

Medicinal Uses

The bark of the tree has been used medicinally by Aboriginal people for centuries. The inner bark is traditionally used as a tea to treat colds, flu and stomach upsets. The smoke from the burning bark is also used to relieve headaches. More recently, it has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, making it a valuable addition to any first-aid kit. To make tea:

  • Simmer a small handful of inner bark in boiling water for 10 minutes.
  • Strain and drink as needed.
  • For headaches, add a few pieces of bark to a fireproof container and place it over an open flame.
  • Inhale the smoke deeply and slowly for the best results.

Other Uses 

Black She Oak

The tree has many other uses. The wood is solid and durable, making it ideal for furniture and flooring. The bark can create various things, including rope and paper. The leaves are also edible and can be used in salads or garnish.


The tree (Allocasuarina) is an Australian native plant often used as firewood or charcoal. The wood of this tree is hard and dense, making it ideal for these purposes. The tree grows to 15-30 metres and has dark green, needle-like leaves. It is found in open woodlands and forests throughout Australia.


This plant makes fuel from fallen leaves and branches. Black she-oak fuel is prevalent in Australia. It is used to make barbecues, campfires and even to power vehicles!


This plant is a dense, fast-growing shrub that makes an excellent hedge or screen. It can reach up to 3 metres and has dark green, glossy leaves. The Black She Oak is also known for its pretty flowers, which appear in spring and summer.


This plant creates a shelterbelt and helps control soil erosion. Black She Oak has deep roots that help to stabilize the soil.


The flowers of this plant attract nectar-feeding birds such as honeyeaters. Insects are also attracted to the flowers, which provide a food source for these creatures.

Soil stabilization

Black She Oak is perfect for soil stabilization. The deep roots of the Black She Oak help to hold the soil in place, preventing erosion and providing a stable foundation for new growth. Black She Oaks are also drought tolerant, making them ideal for arid climates.


This plant makes tannin which can be used in leather tanning. Tannin is a natural substance that helps preserve animal hides and prevent them from rotting. Black She Oak is one of many plants that contain tannin. The high tannin content in this plant makes it an essential source for this commercial industry.


Black She Oak Wood

One of these is wood, which makes it an excellent choice for those in the market for new furniture or other wooden objects. The Black She Oak is known for its strength and durability, so you can rest assured that any items made from this wood will last for years.

Food Forest

This plant can be a good source of food forest for your backyard. Black She Oak (Allocasuarina) is high in protein, vitamins, and minerals. The Black She Oak tree produces small black fruits perfect for making syrup or jam. The flowers of the Black She Oak are also edible and can be used to make tea. If you are looking for a native Australian plant that is both delicious and nutritious, then the Black She Oak is perfect!

Nitrogen Fixer

Nitrogen fixes a great deal of nitrogen from the air. Black she-oaks are one of few Australian native plants that can do this, making them a valuable species for revegetation and land rehabilitation. This plant produces nitrogen, so it’s great for the garden!


Black She Oak (Allocasuarina) is an Australian native plant that is easy to grow and care for. It is a hardy plant that can tolerate poor soils and drought conditions. Black She Oak is also a low-maintenance plant that does not require much pruning or fertilizing.


Black She Oak (Allocasuarina) can be propagated by seed. The best time to sow the source is in early spring. Sow the grain on the surface of a well-drained basis, raising the mix and cover with a thin layer of river sand. Keep moist but not wet and in good light.

  • Seedlings will appear in 14-21 days. Transplant when large enough to handle into individual pots and grow until big enough to plant out into the garden.
  • Allocasuarina can also be propagated by cuttings from new growth in late spring or early summer. Take a firm’s 10-15cm long cuttings, further development, and remove the lower leaves. Dip the cut end into a hormone-rooting powder and insert it into a well-drained propagating mix. Cover with plastic to retain moisture and place in a warm, shady position.

How To Plant and Care for Black She Oak

When planting, choose a location that is sunny and has well-drained soil. Black She Oaks are drought tolerant once established but will benefit from extra water during prolonged dry periods.

Add some organic matter to the planting hole and water the well. Stake taller varieties to prevent wind damage.


Prune Black She Oaks in late winter or early spring to maintain a compact shape and encourage dense new growth. Remove any diseased, damaged or crossing branches. Cut back about one-third of the most extended units to promote bushier growth.


Mulching Black She Oak

Mulch around Black She Oaks to help retain moisture and suppress weeds. Use an organic mulch such as bark or shredded leaves. Reapply every year or as needed.

Pest and Diseases

Keep an eye out for pests and diseases and treat them promptly if required. Common problems include scale, aphids, caterpillars and fungal infections such as powdery mildew or black spot.


Water Black She Oaks regularly during the first few months after planting. Once established, they are drought tolerant but will benefit from extra water during prolonged dry periods.


Black She Oaks prefer full sun but will tolerate some light shade. The plant must receive some direct sunlight daily to encourage dense growth.


Black She Oaks grow in most soil types as long as it is well-drained. Add some organic matter to the planting hole if your soil is poor.

Frost Tolerance

Black She Oaks are tolerant of light frosts but may be damaged by severe cold weather. Protect young plants from frost damage by covering them with a cloth or plastic sheet if frost is forecast.


Position your plant in an open, sunny spot. Black She Oaks are tolerant of most soil types as long as it is well-drained.

Black She Oaks are tough, adaptable Australian native plants that add significantly to any garden. They are easy to care for and require little maintenance, making them perfect for busy people. Black She Oaks also symbolize protection, strength and grounding, making them great plants around the home.

Frequently Asked Questions about this Tree

Are black she-oaks fast-growing?

Yes, black she-oaks are relatively fast-growing trees. They typically grow between 1 to 2 feet per year during the first few years of growth, then slow down to a rate of around 6 to 12 inches per year.
Black she-oaks are tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions but prefer moist, well-drained soils in full sun or partial shade. They are also drought tolerant once they are established. Black she-oaks make an excellent choice for yards or landscapes where a quick-growing tree is desired.

What is the difference between Casuarina and Allocasuarina?

Casuarina and Allocasuarina are both evergreen trees in the Casuarinaceae family. They are distinguished based on several characteristics, including leaf shape, branching pattern, and reproductive structures.
Casuarinas typically have drooping leaves with a blade that is either lance-shaped or sickle-shaped. Allocasuarinas, on the other hand, usually have more upright and sharply pointed leaves. Casuarinas tend to form a more rounded canopy with branches that spread outwards, while Allocasuarinas have a good spire shape with branches that grow upwards.

Are black she Oaks protected?

Yes. Black She Oaks are protected by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 and the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. These Acts provide for the protection of rare, threatened and endangered plants and animals.
Aboriginal people have long associated spiritual values with black she-oaks. Many sites important to Aboriginal people are found in or near the black she-oak forest. The area around Mount Keira is such a site for the Illawarra Aboriginal people. For these reasons, black she-oaks are protected under the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003.

Is black she Oaks invasive?

No. Black Oaks (Carya ovalis) are not invasive. There has been some confusion about this tree because it is sometimes confused with the Water Hickory (Carya aquatica), an invasive species in the south.
Black she Oaks are indigenous to the eastern United States, and they grow naturally in lowland floodplains and swamp forests. They are valuable trees because they are tolerant of flooding, erosion, and poor soils and provide food and shelter for wildlife.

Can you prune black she-Oaks?

Yes, you can prune black she-Oaks. She-Oaks respond very well to regular pruning. She-Oaks tend to increase and become leggy if they’re not pruned regularly, so it’s a good idea to trim them back every year or two.
When trimming a she-Oak, cut off the branches at the desired height, leaving a few buds on each chapter so new growth will be generated. Also, take care not to damage the tree’s trunk when trimming the branches. Always use sharp clippers or scissors when pruning a she-Oak, and make clean cuts that are angled away from the tree’s trunk.

Why is it called a black she-Oak?

There are several theories about why this particular tree is called the black she-Oak. One is that the tree’s bark is so tough that it was once used to make shields for female warriors (she-Oaks). Another theory is that early settlers in Australia named the tree after a local aboriginal tribe of women warriors. Yet another possibility is that the tree gets its name from the dark fruit it produces.
Whatever the reason, this particular oak tree is an integral part of Australian history and culture. Not only does it provide food and shelter for local wildlife, but its timber has been used for centuries by Australian builders and artisans.

Is black She-oak native to Australia?

Yes, black She-oak is native to Australia. It grows throughout the eastern states and into Tasmania. It’s a slow-growing tree that typically reaches 20-25m but can grow up to 50m tall. The bark is rough and dark brown, and the leaves are evergreen, alternate, and simple with a wavy margin. The flowers are small and cream-coloured, followed by greenish-black fruit.

Is she-oak good for firewood?

Yes, she-oak is suitable for firewood. The wood is dense and complex, so it burns well. It also produces a lot of heat, making it a valuable energy source for cooking or heating your home.
One thing to note is that she-oak is an invasive species in many parts of the world, so please be sure only to harvest dead trees or branches that are already on the ground. Never cut down live trees, as this will only contribute to the problem and could damage the environment. Thanks for helping preserve our planet!

Is she-oak a hardwood or softwood?

She-oak is a type of hardwood. It grows in Australia and New Zealand and is used for construction, flooring, furniture, and other wood products. She-oak is solid and durable wood with high resistance to rot and decay. It also has a beautiful grain pattern that makes it popular for woodworking projects.

How long do black she-oak trees live?

Black she-oak trees can live for more than 400 years. They are very hardy trees and can withstand drought, frost, and fire.
Their root system is incredibly robust and helps them to survive in harsh conditions. They are often found growing in sandy soils near the ocean where other trees would not be able to thrive. Black she-oak trees provide essential habitat for wildlife, and many different animals eat their leaves.

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