[permaculture] casuarina/ironwood

Elijah Smith elijah at hilobay.com
Mon Mar 11 18:19:09 EST 2002

I'll toss in a few more cents...

I've heard by word of mouth that the ironwood needles contain an
allelopathic substance which supresses potentially competitive growth around
the tree - and, indeed, there are stretches of forest on the Big Island
(Mackenzie park in Puna and the far side of Waipio valley) with nothing but
ironwood - their needles make a wonderfully soft mat to sleep on.

However, I've also seen reference (in "Agroforestry in the Pacific Islands:
Systems for Sustainability") reference to how in Papua New Ginuea (or
somewhere down there... ;) the native people preferred to plant gardens
where ironwoods had been because it was better soil.  So, maybe the needles
are actively allelopathic only for a short time after they fall, and then
lose that quality in older soil?

----- Original Message -----
From: "John Schinnerer" <eco_living at yahoo.com>
To: <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Monday, March 11, 2002 12:53 PM
Subject: Re: [permaculture] casuarina/ironwood

> Aloha,
> > there is an ironwood casuarina native in fiji, and it is very
> > durable, used for houseposts set in the ground as is.
> I have heard rumors of this too...I have assumed the casuarina in
> Hawai'i was introduced post-contact but it (or some varieties) may have
> come with the polynesians too.
> > and it is
> > _hard_ i tell you. i you dont work it right after felling (which
> > is quote a job as well) you can forget it.
> Sounds like the stuff in Hawai'i...  Similar with 'ohia and guava -
> cut, and work while green, or they get almost too hard to work (though
> ironwood is harder), especially with hand tools, which is mostly what
> I'll be doing.
> =====
> John Schinnerer, MA
> --------------------
> - Eco-Living -
> Cultural & Ecological Designing
> Food - Shelter - Community
> john at eco-living.net
> http://eco-living.net
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