Nothofagus obliqua

Nothofagus obliqua   

Usually noted for their rapid growth, some have struggled with drought and others with compacted soil near the entrance gate. Those that have survived have joined in the spectacular autumn display this year by showing their best colour yet.

Central Chile near Santiago to south of Valdivia and a small area of adjacent Argentina is the natural distribution of our featured plant. The Australian equivalent would be Sydney to Launceston. It prefers fertile, well-drained soil with abundant rainfall and occurs from 600 to 2200 m altitude often dominating temperate rainforests. Nothofagus obliqua is the most widespread of the nine South American Nothofagus species and is valued for its timber.

Nothofagus species are collectively known as the Southern Beeches as they occur in Australia Nothofagus moorei, the Queensland/NSW border region and Nothofagus gunnii and Nothofagus cunninghamii in Tasmania, New Zealand (4 species), South America (9 species), Papua New Guinea (5 species) and New Caledonia (5 species) and they once inhabited Antarctica, hence the Gondwanan link.

There is an extensive fossil record of Nothofagus pollen, with three different pollen types known. The oldest pollen type in the fossil record is now found only in the Nothofagus of Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia, leading some to call the plants in these areas living fossils.