|(In case you forgot what hoop pine looks like)|
|Banksia flower - Banksia integrifolia|
Needless to say, when I went home and looked up Banksia and learned that they're a flowering tree, I was flustered. I had gotten so excited when I saw all those "cones" in the trees on a field trip. Nope, it's a flowering tree. Psych!
It doesn't help that most trees in the Northern Rivers area (warmer, wetter part of OZ), despite being flowering trees, are evergreen because it doesn't get cold enough here to necessitate being deciduous. Take, for instance, the casuarinas. At first glimpse, they look pretty damn pine-y. Those needle-looking things are actually cladodes: modified photosynthetic stems with tiny little reduced leaves that look like scales on the stems. Their fruits are also woody and made up of lots of samaras. So, they're flowering trees. Not conifers. Take a gander. They look a helluva lot like sparsely foliated, fluffy pines from a distance:
I've mentioned plum pines before. For some reason, the ACTUAL conifers here frequently have the suffix "pine" attached. To be clear, NONE of the native trees are in the Pinaceae family. And nor is it a plum tree. Whoever thought to call this thing plum pine was crazy in my opinion:
|Plum pine "needles" and cones|
Bottom line when you're in Australia: woody fruits DO NOT equate to conifer! Easy enough to remember. But when it comes to appearances, I remain con[ifer]fused.