Allocasuarina section Cylindropitys (She-oaks)

Aim: Conservation Genomics
Project initiation: Aug 2020
Project lead: Marlien van der Merwe | Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust


Project description:

Refining species boundaries in She-Oaks

Allocasuarina is a genus in the She-Oak family, Casuarinaceae, with 62 species all endemic to Australia. Along the east coast of Australia there are over five Allocasuarina species currently listed as threatened and all of them fall into the section ‘Cylindropitys’ a group of 29 species that all share some morphological characteristics.

While some of the species in this group are well defined and easy to identify others are not always easy to identify (particularly when immature) and hybridisation is common between many of the species in the group. These two factors impair the application of taxonomic concepts to conservation management plans and germplasm collections of the threatened species.

We will use a multi-species, multi sample approach to refine species concepts and boundaries in the group with particular focus on the rare and threatened species, A. defungens, A. glareicola, A. portuensis, A. simulans and A. thalassoscopica that overlap in distribution with two wide spread and commons species in the group (the Black She-Oak, A. littoralis and the Scrub She-oak, A. distyla).