Casuarina Trees in Revegetation Zone on Mooloolaba Spit
Casuarina trees – also known as she oaks- are a feature along the canals and beach front of the Mooloolaba Spit. Just a pleasant fifteen minute walk from Northwind Beachfront Apartments, the trees are part of the on-going revegetation zone project along the Spit’s beach front. The area is between the Mooloolaba Surf Club and the Mooloolah River Mouth with a boardwalk through the zone.
The name ‘casuarina’ derives form the word ‘cassowary’ because the fine, textured evergreen foliage looks like the feathers of the cassowary bird.
The trees have little cones full of seeds which attract many native birds: the endangered glossy black cockatoos love the she oak cones which they eat whole. We have heard them making a distinctive “talk-eating” sound as they dine on the cones at dusk. Finches and rainbow lorikeets are more interested in eating the seeds. Willie Wagtails, Pee Wees and Butcher birds all favour she oaks as nesting trees. Brush turkeys live in the revegetation zone, nesting under the casuarina trees.
Ring tail possums can often be seen climbing through the branches at dusk, and frog-mouth owls can also be seen sitting on the trees.
The foliage of a bank of she oaks creates a delightful whistling sound when the wind blows through it. She oak foliage is made up of fine, ridged branches or ‘branchlets’ which are reduced leaves which give the casuarina a great advantage in the harsh Australian climate, making these trees ideal for windbreaks and coastal plantings. Water loss is further minimised by the plant as the branchlets fall to form a thick blanket underneath the tree. This acts as a mulch to suppress weeds and help stabilize soil from erosion. The roots have nitrogen fixing nodules which make the tree ideal for adverse sites such as the sandy conditions of the Mooloolaba Spit.