T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Fuscospora truncata (Hard Beech)

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Eudicots
(Unranked): Rosids
Order: Fagales
Family: Nothofagaceae
Genus: Fuscospora
Species: F. truncata.
Binomial name: Fuscospora truncata.
Synonyms: Fagus truncata, Nothofagus truncata
Common name: Hard Beech, Tawhairaunui

Fuscospora truncata is a species of tree endemic to New Zealand. Its common name hard beech derives from the fact that its wood has a high silica content, making it hard and difficult to saw.
Hard Beech is a tree up to 30m tall occurring in lowland and lower montane forest from lat. 35°S to 42°30'S, that is, from the north of the North Island to Marlborough and south Westland in the South Island. 
In north Taranaki hard beech occupies much of the rugged sandstone country, forming almost pure stands.
It is partly deciduous in late winter/early spring. 
The coriaceous (leathery) ovate hailess glossy leaves range from 2.5 to 4 cm long, and have from 8 to 12 pairs of coarse blunt teeth. There are no domatia (small depressions partly enclosed by leaf tissue or hairs) on under surface of the leaf. Its trunk has bark that is thick, furrowed and a slate grey. 
It develops lots of tiny red male bell-shaped flowers. Clusters of 3 
flowered female are on stalks. The green brown tipped flowers are between the leaves and stems.
The wood is red when cut and it dries to light brown. It is harder than other beeches. Its bark full of tannin and was used for leather tanning. The woods past uses was for bridges, posts, poles and railway sleepers.



 

Photograph taken in the Buller Gorge, Westland, New Zealand.