Casuarinaceae is a family of dicotyledonous flowering plants placed in the order Fagales, consisting of 3 or 4 genera and approximately 70 species of trees and shrubs native to the Old World tropics (Indo-Malaysia), Australia, and the Pacific Islands. At one time, all of the species were placed in the genus Casuarina, but these were split in 1982 into the genera Allocasuarina, Casuarina, Ceuthostoma, and Gymnostoma. Somewhat controversial at the time, the monophyly of these genera was later supported in a 2003 molecular study of the family. In the Wettstein system, this family was the only one placed in the order Verticillatae. Likewise, in the Engler, Cronquist and Kubitzki systems, Casuarinaceae was the only family placed in the order Casuarinales.
Members of this family are characterized by drooping equisetoid (meaning "to look like Equisetum") twigs, are evergreen, and monoecious or dioecious. The roots have nitrogen-fixing nodules that contain the soil actinomycete Frankia.
The most widely used common name for Casuarinaceae species is sheoak or she-oak (a comparison of the timber quality with English Oak). Other common names include ironwood, bull-oak or buloke, and beefwood.
The Shire of Buloke in Victoria, Australia is named after the species Allocasuarina luehmannii.
1. ^ Steane, Dorothy A.; Wilson, Karen L.; Hill, Robert S. (2003). (fulltext) "Using matK sequence data to unravel the phylogeny of Casuarinaceae". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 28: 47–59. http://eprints.utas.edu.au/3490/1/Acr664.pdf (fulltext). Retrieved 12 November 2010.
* Research team from IRD working on Frankia-Casuarinaceae mycorrhizal and nitrogen-fixing symbioses
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