The Tasmanian Arboretum

Tasmanian Arboretum Home > About us > Thematic collections > Southern Beeches

The beech family (Fagaceae) - oaks, beeches and southern beeches - forms part of our collections. This family also has members in the tropics.

Species of Nothofagus, or false beech, are found in an arc around the southern ocean; southern South America, New Zealand, Australia (including Tasmania), New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea, representing their ancient distribution in Gondwana.

All have seed similar to the northern hemisphere beech (Fagus). A few species are deciduous and several have large leaves like the beech. However, the majority of species found in the warmer areas, are evergreen. Some were deciduous in earlier colder climate regimes.

northern beech
Nothofagus gunnii

Unique to Tasmania, the deciduous beech (Nothofagus gunnii), also known as fagus or tanglefoot, is the only temperate deciduous tree occuring naturally in Australia. The leaves turn a golden yellow in late April. This species grows only in wetter, high altitude forests that are free of fire. Its closest relative among the southern beeches is Nothofagus antarctica that grows in southern South America.

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Their distribution

distribution