Territory Stories

Top End Native Plant Society newsletter



Top End Native Plant Society newsletter

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TENPS newsletter


Top End Native Plant Society


Top End Native Plant Society newsletter; Top End Native Plant Society newsletter; E-Journals; PublicationNT




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Top End Native Plant Society; Periodicals; Plant; Darwin Region

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Top End Native Plant Society

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Top End Native Plant Society



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3 Allocasuarina verticillata or Drooping Sheoak (formerly A. stricta) is dioecious, the male and female flowers are on separate trees. There are no leaves, but needles (scale leaves) which are modified stems. The needles catch the dew from the air at night, and as they have a weeping habit, water the grass as the dew drips off them. Drooping Sheoak (Allocasuarina verticillata) cones. When the land was purchased for the national park in 1976, the ground was bare, having been denuded by cattle (below). It was thought that the stock had killed off all the sheoaks, but Andrew deduced that there was sheoak regeneration when cattle were still there. He found that sheep caused the loss of the sheoaks. Vast numbers of sheep had grazed the land. There is evidence that the female trees are favoured as food by horses. For some reason they taste better than the male trees! Andrew was told not to shoot the horses, but he found out the Coffin Bay ponies hadnt always been there. There had also been a stud for Clydesdale horses, and they had been dealing with the sheoaks along with the cattle. The horses were also destabilising the dunes. The horses had to go and the cattle had to go! Horses were taken alive on the back of a ute driven along beaches (above) to remove them from the park. Eucalyptus diversifolia replaced burnt and grazed sheoak grassy woodland and Leucopogon parviflorus (Bird Bush) began to invade from the sandhills. Moving dunes engulfed dead sheoak woodland and buried sheoak woodland and associated Melaleuca halmatuorum swamps. Andrews initial trial rabbit, horse and cattle exclosures around rare remnant female sheoaks demonstrated that regeneration of A. verticilata still did not occur when kangaroos were present. He left in 1985 after removing cattle horses and rabbits. In 2003 a study commenced in Coffin Bay National Park and Lincoln National Park aiming to restore the sheoak grassy woodlands on the lower Eyre Peninsula.

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