Lophozonia cunninghamii (Myrtle beech)
Species: L. cunninghamii
Binomial name: Lophozonia cunninghamii
Ssynonyms: Nothofagus cunninghamii, Fagus cunninghamii
Common name: Myrtle Beech, Cunningham's beech, Tasmanian Myrtle, Australian cherry. (It is not related to the Myrtle family)
Lophozonia cunninghamii is a large, spreading evergreen tree native to Victoria and Tasmania, Australia where it grows mainly in the temperate rainforests.
Lophozonia cunninghamii typically grows to 30–55 m tall and can have large trunks with an outer bark that is brown or deep red to pink, scaly and slightly fibrous and remains attached to the tree for life. The trunk is slightly buttressed, fluted and often swollen at the base, with adventitious shoots.
The leaves (> 2cm long) are glossy and smooth on both sides, dark green above but paler beneath, toothed, rounded at the tip and a broad wedge-shape to triangular at the base, with a prominent midrib and indistinct veins. New growth flushes rose pink to orange-bronze in spring. The leaves have smallish (6–20 mm) but obvious glandular dots.
The flowers are greenish, with separate male and female flowers, on or near the ends of the branches. The female flowers are located above the male flowers. The male flowers form catkins. Each catkin is comprised of 1–4 flowers that appear to have no petals. Each flower is 4 mm wide, has six lobes and holds 6–10 stamens. The female flowers are in clusters of three and arise from the fork of separate branchlets.
The fruit is a 6 mm capsule containing three small winged nuts.
Lophozonia cunninghamii can be attacked by parasitic fungus Chalara australis (A vascular pathogen) when the air-borne spores settle on open wounds.
Photographed at Christchurch Botanilal Garden
The leaves with their visable glandular dots.