The genus name mentions a bird, the cassowary, who lives in the same area of origin, New South Wales and Queensland in Australia. The straight plumage of this ostrich-like bird is very similar to the young branches of this tree, hence its popular name. The specific name equisetifolia is for the similarity of these twigs with the equisetum or horsetail, a very common fern in the Spanish fields.
This tree has a unique feature: its roots are associated with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, so it does not need fertilizer of this element. It thus becomes a very suitable tree for fixing land, ideal for reforestation programs. It is also used in some places, USA and Canary, as crop protection against the wind.