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Nothofagus solandri (Hook. f.) Oerst.

Modern name

Nothofagus solandri (Hook.f.) Oerst.


Fagus solandri Hook. f.

An evergreen tree said to be 40 to 80 ft high in the wild, with a trunk 2 to 5 ft in diameter; young shoots clothed with a dense fine down. Leaves oval, sometimes rather ovate, not toothed, broadly wedge-shaped at the base, blunt at the apex, 14 to 58 in. long, 14 to 38 in. wide, glabrous and glossy above, covered with a close down beneath; stalk 116 in. long; veins usually four or five each side of the midrib. Male flowers produced one to three together in the leaf-axils. Husk of fruit usually three-valved, 14 in. long; valves with three or four entire transverse plates. Nutlets usually three, winged.

Native of New Zealand on both North and South Islands, in lowland and montane forests. The date of introduction is uncertain, but there was a young tree at Nymans in Sussex by 1917, probably the one that still grows there, and the tree at Wakehurst Place in the same county is of about the same age. In those two gardens it is hardy but all the other recorded specimens are in the milder parts. On young trees the leaves are glabrous on both sides and according to Kirk they may remain so in quite tall trees, if these are shaded by the forest canopy.

The tree at Nymans mentioned above measures 59 × 4 ft (1970) and the Wakehurst specimen, in a more open position, 37 × 414 ft (1965). Others are: Caerhays, Cornwall, pl. 1928, 54 × 5 ft (1971) and Castle Kennedy, Wigtons., 55 × 412 ft (1967).

var. cliffortioides (Hook, f.) Poole F. cliffortioides Hook, f.; N. cliffortioides (Hook, f.) Oerst. – In its typical state this beech is distinct from N. solandri in its ovate leaves, acute at the apex, rounded at the base, but intermediate shapes occur. Since there is no other reliable character by which the two beeches can be distinguished, F. cliffortioides was reduced to the status of a variety of N. solandri by Poole in 1958.

The var. cliffortioides ascends to a higher altitude than the typical variety and in places forms a low scrub at the tree-line. Even at lower elevations it is said to make on the average a smaller tree than the typical variety, not usually exceeding 50 ft in height. The date of introduction is not known, but the tree at Nymans in Sussex, which has the largest girth so far recorded in the British Isles, was 26 ft high in 1917 and was probably planted in the 1890s. The beech at Castlewellan, mentioned in Journ. R.H.S., Vol. 27, p. 417, was not N. cliffortioides, as there stated, but N. fusca, and the trees at Enys in Cornwall, mentioned in ‘Elwes and Henry’ may have been the hybrid N. × blairii.

The tree at Nymans in Sussex mentioned above measures 53 × 512 ft (1966). Two others in Sussex are: Leonardslee, 68 × 312 ft (1962), and Wakehurst Place, 40 × 412 ft at 3 ft (1969). In the Edinburgh Botanic Garden there is a small tree planted in 1945, measuring 38 × 2 ft (1967). The following have been recorded in the western parts of the British Isles: Muncaster Castle, four trees, the largest 57 × 434 ft (1971); Crarae, Argyll, pl. 1936, 44 × 314 ft (1969); Rowallane, Co. Down, 50 × 314 ft (1966); Mount Usher, Co. Wicklow, Eire, 46 × 234 ft (1966).

Nothofagus solandri

Nothofagus solandri

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

Although Hooker spelt the epithet solandri, this has to be regarded as an ‘orthographic error’; solanderi is therefore correct.

specimens: Nymans, Sussex, 59 × 4 ft (1970); Wakehurst Place, Sussex, 84 × 614 ft (1984) and 70 × 1012 ft at 2 ft (1978); Caerhays, Cornwall, pl. 1928, 60 × 512 ft (1975); Rowallane, Co. Down, 70 × 534 ft (1976).

var. cliffortioides - specimens: Nymans, Sussex, 92 × 712 ft (1985); Leonardslee, Sussex, 82 × 412 ft at 3 ft (1979); Wakehurst Place, Sussex, 41 × 434 ft at 2 ft (1979); Muncaster Castle, Cumb., 75 × 712 ft and 82 × 5 ft (1984); Castle Kennedy, Wigt., 70 × 614 ft (1984); Crarae, Argyll, pl. 1936, 51 × 414 ft (1976); Rowallane, Co. Down, 70 × 4 ft and 52 × 434 ft (1976); Mount Usher, Co. Wicklow, Eire 47 × 334 ft (1975).



Other species in the genus