The Drooping Sheoak (Allocasuarina verticillata) is a cracker of a tree and is quickly becoming one of our favourites. It produces the favoured cone for nibbling by the iconic black cockatoo, its prodigious needle dropping is excellent for protecting the soil and contributing to erosion control. The name Sheoak was apparently once ‘Shee-oak’, the ‘Shee’ referring to the sound of the wind blowing through a sheoak grove. The oak of the name refers to the tree’s fine-grained timber, making it excellent for turning. According to Primary Industries and Resources SA, the sheoak is also the “Rolls Royce” of firewoods, burning hot and leaving little ash. We also love it because of its generosity with seed and its ready germination.
In the delirium of seed collection, I started sketching sheoak cones, a process that has now evolved into the designs below. I’ve tried to reference the colours of both the developing cones and the distinctive grey-green foliage in these designs. Perhaps one day they’ll evolve into textile or wallpaper prints, but for now, they’re available for free download below as iPad and iPhone wallpapers. Let me know which one you like best!