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Daintree sheoak not so swishy

We all know sheoaks, and their needle-like branches that amplify the wind to create a lovely whispering, swishing or even whisling sound.

Some of us also know the ignobility of being required to adopt a new botanical name for many of them, when the prefix Allo-was added to Casuarina to create the genus Allocasuarina.

refers to the similarity of those swishing branchlets to the feathers of a cassowary (kasuari in Malay), so the new name refers to the similarity of certain species to those still in the genus with the faunal similarity. Casuarina remains for a few species with differently coloured and textured seeds.

So what about Gymnostoma, the Daintree Oak or Daintree Pine, a genus created back in 1980 but expanded in definition at the same time as Allocasuarina hit the press, just over 30 years ago? The name means naked (gymno) mouth (stoma) mouth, a reference to the exposed pores (stomata) in the groves running along each branchlet.

It gets a bit fiddly and technical to id…

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