Nothofagus cunninghamii myrtle beech
Nothofagus cunninghamii at Glenveagh

Family: Fagaceae

Origin: Tasmania

This seldom-cultivated southern beech species is a small evergreen tree, which is somewhat tender in northern latitudes. In this it is typical of many Tasmanian species, which, in general, need relatively high humidity, mild winters and warm summers; Northern Ireland's climate enables the cultivation of quite a few of these plants.

Nothofagus cunninghamii at Glenveagh

Although it can reach 55 m in the wild, in Ireland it achieves only around 18-20 m; its branchlets are wiry and bright brown, with a dark down. Its tiny leaves are bright, mid-green and shiny, and usually very strongly triangular, up to 16 mm long by 8-16 mm broad at the base. Male flowers with many stamens are borne singly in the axils of the leaves. The fruits are tiny nutlets which can take several months to mature.

This specimen was photographed in Glenveagh Gardens, Co Donegal.

Nothofagus cunninghamii at Glenveagh

The name of the genus Nothofagus is derived from the Greek nothos false, and fagus beech.

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