Herb: Swamp Oak
Latin name: Casuarina glauca
Family: Casuarinaceae (She-oak Family)
Edible parts of Swamp Oak:The needles are chewed to relieve thirst. We assume that this means the leaves.
Description of the plant:
Habitat of the herb:Usually found in swampy localities. Near salt water estuaries, along sluggish creeks and occasionally on rising ground.
Other uses of Swamp Oak:The plant suckers freely and forms a good windbreak. It has been used to reclaim land, especially eroded mountainsides, and to provide shelterbelts. The plant can spread very freely by means of suckers and has become a noxious weed in some areas - its planting is banned in some parts of Florida. Ditches are sometimes dug on either side of the shelterbelt planting in order to control its spread. Wood - tough. Used for axe handles etc, it is said to be better than hickory (Carya spp) for this purpose. The brownish timber is nicely marked and is used for fencing rails, shingles, salt water pilings, poles, charcoal and fuel. Casuarina spp. have very dense wood, with a specific gravity of 0.8 - 1.2, and a calorific value of ca 5,000 kcal/kg. The wood splits easily, and burns slowly with little smoke or ash. It also can be burned when green, an important advantage in fuel short areas. From their fourth year, trees shed about 4 tons cones/year. These, too, make good pellet-sized fuel (NAS, 1983e).
Propagation of the herb:Seed - sow late winter to early summer in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. There are between 700,000 - 970,000 seeds per kilo. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame.
Cultivation of Swamp Oak:Usually found in swampy localities. Near salt water estuaries, along sluggish creeks and occasionally on rising ground.
Medicinal use of the herb:None known
Known hazards of Casuarina glauca:There is a report that the pollen might be allergenic.
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.