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Nothofagus beech

June 17th 2005

Nothofagus The New Zealand beech.
It can be difficult to identify the 5 main species of New Zealand beech. Presented below are the identifying features for each species.

The Beech has entire leaves with singly toothed margin
Nothofagus fusca Red beech.

Red Beech

Red beech leaf

The trunk is often buttressed with thick dark furrowed bark.The leaves are broadly ovate and coarsely and sharply toothed with 1 or 2 domatia (small holes or pits at the midrib/vein junction) on the underside. From Waikato to Fiordland

Nothofagus truncata hard beech.

Hard Beech

Hard Beech leaf

The leaves are coarsely and bluntly toothed. No domatia on under surface.
Kaitaia to Marlborough

The beech has entire leaves with a smooth or almost smooth margin
Nothofagus solandri var. solandri Black Beech

Black Beech leaf

Black beech grows throughout New Zealand in Lowland forest to an elevation of 600 metres but usually lower. The leaves are elliptic oblong to orbicular

Nothofagus solandri var. cliffortioides Mountain Beech
Commonly in dryer forest at higher altitudes. The leaves are triangular to elliptic -ovate possibly assymetrical.
(no photo yet)

The beech has leaves with a  doubly toothed margin
Nothofagus menzeseii Silver Beech
Trunk often buttressedThe leaves are broadly ovate with domatia on under surface.
Te Aroha to Bluff.

Silver Beech

photos by Liz van der Laarse

If you wish to learn more about native plants I suggest one of these natural history books from fishpond

Life-size Guide to New Zealand Native Ferns: Featuring the Caterpillars Which Feed on ThemA Field Guide to the Native Edible Plants of New ZealandGardener's Encyclopaedia of NZ Native PlantsTrees and Shrubs of New ZealandThe Reed Field Guide to New Zealand Native Trees



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