Casuarina equisetifolia L.

Etymology Genus From Malay Kesuari; referring to the resemblance of its twigs to the drooping feathers of the cassowary
Species Foliage like a horse tail
Family Casuarinaceae
Synonyms -
Common Names Common Rhu, Horsetail Tree, Australian Pine Tree
Status Native: Common
Form Tree
Native Distribution Southeast Asia, Australia, Pacific Islands


A tall somewhat cone-shaped tree growing up to 50m, Casuarina equisetifolia is a tree that is very common along sandy shores. It has bushy, horse-tailed like foliage, with green-coloured twigs; flaky bark, and cone-like fruits. It is also sparingly cultivated in some areas.

Interesting Facts:

The leaves of the Common Rhu, and other Casuarina species are reduced to small claw-like scales, and the green twigs replaced the function of photosynthesis. It is fast growing, growing about 3m a year under suitable conditions (Corner, 1997). The male flowers are borne on the ends of the green twigs, while female flowers extend from brown branches. 

The wood of this tree is used for fence posts, poles, beams and pilings, due to it being exceptionally hard and strong (NParks, 2009). Tanjong Rhu Road and Casuarina Road are named after this tree.

Row of Common Rhu at Punggol Beach (2012).

Horse-tail like foliage.

Green twigs with minute white scale leaves.

Male flower spikes.

Female flower.

Fruit cones.


Corner EJH. (1997) Wayside Trees of Malaya. Volume 1. 4th edition. The Malaysian Nature Society, Kuala Lumpur. 476 pp. 

NParks. (2009) Trees of Our Garden City: A Guide to the Common Trees of Singapore. 2nd Edition. National Parks Board, Singapore. 382 pp.

Author: Jake
Posted: 2018-12-21