Beefwood


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Beefwood

 

(Casuarina), a genus of woody and bushy plants of the family Casuarinaceae. There are at least 60 species, found chiefly in Australia but also in Tasmania and from Fiji and New Caledonia to Burma. In the USSR, C. equisetifolia, whose jointed shoots resemble horsetails, is cultivated as an ornamental in the Caucasus.

The leaves are in verticils, squamiform, grown together indentate sheaths. The blossoms are small, lacking a perianth, andunisexual. Male flowers have one stamen in delicate terminalracemes; female flowers have one pistil and are gathered into spherical, lignifying inflorescences. The fruit is in the form of awinged nutlet, which upon maturing opens into two flaps, like a pod. The seeds lack an endosperm. Beefwood is one of the oldest dicotyledons.