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Products > Allocasuarina humilis
Allocasuarina humilis - Dwarf Sheoak
Image of Allocasuarina humilis
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Casurinaceae (She-oaks)
Origin: Western Australia (Australasia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Red Brown
Bloomtime: Winter/Spring
Height: 2-6 feet
Width: 4-6 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
Allocasuarina humilis (Dwarf Sheoak) - A small much branched shrub that can grow as a low sprawling plant under 2 feet tall by 6 to 6 feet wide but sometime grows more upright up to 6 feet tall with segmented needle or scale-like green branchlets called cladodes that rise up from the woody stems. In winter through spring appear the short flower spikes which on female plants are red and the males an orange brown color with the females possibly producing a warty woody cone-like fruit.

Plant in a light to medium soil (tolerates clay if it drains) in a full to part sun location where it is both drought and frost resistant. It tolerates alkaline soil and near coastal conditions. Unlike many Australian plants it is not that sensitive to phosphorus in the soil. This long-lived plant is an attractive and unusual small shrub that can be used as a low windbreak or for erosion control.

Allocasuarina humilis is endemic to the south-west of Western Australia where it grows on many soil types from the Murchison River area in the north south to the South Coast, where it extends eastwards to Israelite Bay east of Esperance. Originally described as Casuarina humilis in 1841 from a specimen cultivated in Berlin Botanical Gardens, this plant and other related Australian Casuarina were transferred to the new genus Allocasuarina in 1982. It has in the past been listed as a synonym for the larger Allocasuarina helmssii, but current treatment has these as separate species. The name for the genus comes from the Greek word 'allo' meaning "other" combined with the genus name Casuarina, which comes from the Malay word for the large flightless bird, the cassowary (in the genus Casuarius) which alludes to the similarities between the bird's feathers and the thin drooping stems and leaflike stems (cladodes) of plants in both genera. The specific epithet is Latin meaning "on" or "close to the ground". Our thanks go out to Brian Kemble, curator of the Ruth Bancroft Garden who shared a seed packet of this plant he received from Joey Santore, who collected the seed in Western Australia. 

This information about Allocasuarina humilis displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.